Massage for Neck Pain Santa Barbara

Pain in the spine, a man with backache, injury in the human neck, chiropractic treatments concept with highlighted skeleton
Neck pain, also known as cervicalgia, is a common problem, with two-thirds of the population having neck pain at some point in their lives. Neck pain, although felt in the neck, can be caused by numerous other spinal problems.

Neck pain may arise due to muscular tightness in both the neck and upper back, or pinching of the nerves emanating from the cervical vertebrae. Joint disruption in the neck creates pain, as does joint disruption in the upper back.

The head is supported by the lower neck and upper back, and it is these areas that commonly cause neck pain. The top three joints in the neck allow for most movement of the neck and head. The lower joints in the neck and those of the upper back create a supportive structure for the head to sit on. If this support system is affected adversely, then the muscles in the area will tighten, leading to neck pain.

Neck pain affects about 5% of the global population as of 2010.

Is massage therapy good for neck pain?
Some studies have found that neck massage can provide some neck pain relief and improved range of motion, especially when performed by a trained professional a few times a week for several weeks.
Is deep tissue massage good for neck pain?
Loosening neck muscles is something that a deep tissue massage can definitely help with, however, if you are getting a massage for neck pain, you should consider the cause of your stiff neck muscles.
What are the pressure points to relieve neck pain?
Use a firm, deep pressure to massage the pressure points you have identified to treat your neck pain. It’s best to rotate your fingers in a circular or up-and-down motion for three to four minutes at each point, focusing on one at a time.
Can neck pain last for weeks?
Neck pain symptoms can range in severity and duration. Oftentimes, neck pain is acute and lasts for only a couple of days or weeks. Other times, it may become chronic. Your neck pain may be mild and not interfere much with your activities or daily living, or it may be severe and cause disability.
Are neck massagers safe?
Receiving a neck massage alleviates the pain and discomfort. However, there are also risks in having it done with someone with no experience or with the wrong tool. The neck is a very vulnerable area and is connected to the spinal cord which makes it all the more dangerous.
Can a neck massage cause a stroke?
Neck massage/manipulation continues to be a cause of stroke to consider. Ischemic stroke after CS and carotid body manipulation is due to thromboembolism by rupture of a plaque or by hypoperfusion due to repetitive hypotension.
How should I sleep with neck pain?
The best sleeping positions for the neck are on your back or your side. The back, in particular, is recommended; just make sure to use a pillow that supports the curvature of your neck and a flatter pillow to cushion your head.
What is the fastest way to relieve neck pain?
  1. Stretch Out a Stiff Neck. A few times a day, give your neck a little rest and relaxation. …
  2. Alternate Ice and Heat for Neck Pain Relief. …
  3. Get a Relaxing Massage. …
  4. Use Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers. …
  5. Try Stress-Reducing Techniques for Neck Pain.
How do you release a trigger point in your neck?
Trigger points are typically treated by massaging the area, which can be a challenge when they’re in a hard-to-reach place near your upper back. If you can’t reach the trigger point with your hand, slowly and gently rolling over a golf ball or tennis ball can provide quick relief.
How do I loosen up my neck muscles?
Side Rotation
  1. Keep your head squarely over your shoulders and your back straight.
  2. Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a stretch in the side of your neck and shoulder.
  3. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, and then slowly turn your head forward again.
  4. Repeat on your left side. Do up to 10 sets.
How do you give yourself a neck massage?
  1. Lower your shoulders away from your ears. Straighten your neck and back.
  2. Locate the painful areas on your neck. Press firmly with your fingers.
  3. Gently move your fingers in circular motions. Repeat in the opposite direction.
  4. Continue for 3 to 5 minutes.
How do you know if neck pain is serious?
Neck pain requires immediate medical attention if it is accompanied by any of the following:
  1. Radiating pain in both arms or legs (myelopathic pain)
  2. Numbness, tingling, or weakness in arms or legs.
  3. Problems with balance or coordination.
  4. Loss of bowel or bladder control.
  5. Unintended weight loss.
  6. Fever or chills.
Why am I getting knots in my neck?
It develops when muscle fibers tighten and contract, even when the muscle isn’t moving. Your neck is especially prone to muscle knots. That’s because many daily activities, like texting on a phone or working on a computer, can take a toll on the muscles in your neck.

Most of us have suffered a stiff neck, and neck pain can last for days, weeks, months, and even years. The fourth leading cause of disability in the United States is neck pain affects almost 30% of Americans. And, while about half of those cases of acute neck pain will resolve, almost 50% will have long-term pain to some degree.

How do I know if I need a massage therapist?
What To Say To Your Massage Therapist?
  1. Tell your therapist about any specific conditions or medications that you may be taking. …
  2. Share if you feel uncomfortable with bolster placement, neck pressure when you are face down in the face cradle, and overall pressure during a massage.
Can massage make inflammation worse?
Done right, a massage can help everything from stress and migraines to serious illnesses like Parkinson’s and Sickle Cell Anemia. But a bad massage can actually injure nerves and cause muscle spasms and inflammation.
How often should you get a massage for neck pain?
Massage is a way to relieve neck pain in the short term, and getting frequent massages may be most beneficial. One study found that getting a 60-minute massage two or three times a week showed more benefit for those with neck pain than getting a 60-minute massage once a week or a few 30-minute massages weekly. So sign up for my monthly package  1 1/2 hrs massage deals!
Why do you need to drink plenty of water after a massage?
It’s beneficial to drink water after your massage because as the massage therapist manipulates your muscles, substances are released. Drinking water post-massage helps the body flush out any accumulated materials that were released during the massage.
What should you not do during a massage?
  • Ask your massage therapist to go see a movie / come to your house / etc. …
  • Excessive noises. …
  • Comment on our looks/attractiveness. …
  • Poke your head out of the room to let us know you’re ready. …
  • Start undressing while we are still in the room. …
  • Touch us.
Can a neck massage cause a stroke?
Neck massage/manipulation continues to be a cause of stroke to consider. Ischemic stroke after CS and carotid body manipulation is due to thromboembolism by rupture of a plaque or by hypoperfusion due to repetitive hypotension.
Can lying down too much cause neck pain?
But both your sleeping position and pillow can trigger a stiff, sore neck, and also lead to back pain and other types of pain. Research shows that sleeping problems may be at the root of up to 5 percent of new cases of chronic pain.
What is the fastest way to relieve neck pain?
  1. Stretch Out a Stiff Neck. A few times a day, give your neck a little rest and relaxation. …
  2. Alternate Ice and Heat for Neck Pain Relief. …
  3. Get a Relaxing Massage. …
  4. Use Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers. …
  5. Try Stress-Reducing Techniques for Neck Pain.
Should you massage a strained neck muscle?
Gently rub the area to relieve pain and help with blood flow. Do not massage the area if it hurts to do so. Do not do anything that makes the pain worse. Take it easy for a couple of days.
Can a neck massage cause damage?
In rare cases when a massage is applied too hard or if a preexisting injury exists in the neck, massage can lead to serious complications, such as vertebral artery damage and stroke. To experience the soothing effects of a neck massage, most people do not need the massage to be vigorous.
What is the most important massage movement?
Soft, continuous stroking movements are applied with the fingers (digital) and palms (Palmar) in a slow and rhythmic manner. What is the most important massage movement? Effleurage. It is used in conjunction with other types of massage such as shiatsu.
Does sleeping without a pillow reduce neck pain?
Stomach sleepers often find that using a pillow puts stress on their lower back. It can do this if it pushes its head too far back, leading to arching of the spine. Sleeping without a pillow can align the spine during sleep, helping ease back or neck pain during the day.
Can massage break up belly fat?
After you have rubbed your entire abdomen working horizontally, work the area vertically in the same manner. With this stomach massage, you are loosening the layer of stomach fat that is preventing you from having a flat belly. Think of this as natural Liposuction.
Does massage help reduce belly fat?
A study compared the effect of three different types of massages – mechanical massages, manual lymphatic drainage, and connective tissue manipulation on different body parts. The results were, that fat loss happened in all the cases as indicated by abdominal fat thickness, thigh circumference, and thigh fat thickness.
Why do I poop after a massage?
This slows down breathing and circulation lowers your blood pressure and turns back on your digestion (the repetitive strokes of a massage on the lower torso also help stimulate the large intestine). Regular massage strengthens the walls of your colon and loosens fecal matter for constipation relief.
Do you need to wash off massage oil?
You should rinse off chlorine, perspiration, or environmental pollutants before your treatment or therapy because you don’t want all that to be rubbed into your skin. A shower will also help loosen up your muscles to help you receive more benefits from the treatment.
Should I take a shower after a massage?
A warm shower after a massage can be wonderfully soothing. Since massage oils and lotions are meant to do most of their work during the massage, not after it, you don’t have to skip the shower for fear of washing away skin-friendly oils.
What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck?
  • Sharp pain in the arm.
  • Pain in the shoulder.
  • A feeling of numbness or pins and needles in the arm.
  • Weakness of the arm.
  • Worsening pain when you move your neck or turn your head
Does a heating pad help neck pain?

This improves blood circulation in the painful or stiff areas. Heat therapy may increase flexibility and reduce muscle tightness by warming up muscles and other soft tissues. For chronic neck pain and stiffness, applying heat therapy can be a relatively inexpensive and convenient way to get some relief.
Is heat or ice better for neck pain?
People often face the hot/cold conundrum: Which one should you use? Generally, the recommendation is to use ice for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury to reduce swelling, followed by heat to loosen muscles and improve stiffness.
Does a hot shower help neck pain?

Hydrotherapy is another great remedy for neck pain, which can be easily done while taking a shower. The force of water reduces pain and soreness in the neck. You just have to target the area of pain with warm water first for three to four minutes.
What kind of massage is good for neck pain?
There are many types of this therapy to choose from, but the most common that help resolves a stiff neck are Swedish and deep tissue massage. The various techniques are typically applied to the neck as well as the shoulders and back.
Why does neck massage feel good?
The therapist’s touch causes an immediate reaction in your brain. As soon as your skin’s nerve cells feel pressure, they signal the brain to release feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which boost your mood and give you a natural high.
Why can you not massage yourself?

When you give yourself a massage, it’s impossible to completely unwind. Your brain has to actively calculate your next movement, and your body has to perform the movement. That means, no matter how hard you try, you won’t truly reach a deep state of relaxation.
When should you not get a massage?
  • Fever. Anytime you have a fever, whether, from a cold, the flu, or some other infection, you should not get a massage. …
  • Contagious Diseases. …
  • Blood Clots. …
  • Pregnancy. …
  • Kidney Conditions or Liver Conditions. …
  • Cancer. …
  • Inflammation. …
  • Uncontrolled Hypertension.
Should deep tissue massage hurt the next day?
Right after deep tissue massage therapy, you will likely feel more relaxed and rested than when you came in. The day after your therapy, you may feel a bit sore. This is actually a normal occurrence for many types of this therapy and is especially true after a deep tissue massage.
Is daily massage harmful?
NO. You can enjoy a relaxation massage once a year or two days in a row or even twice a day for relaxation without harm. You can benefit from massage sessions once every week or two to keep your muscles, joints, and tissues pliable and in good shape. Bob Hope got massage daily and lived to be over 100 years old.
Do you weigh more after a massage?

A slow metabolism burns only a few calories, which means more fat gets stored in your body resulting in weight gain. On the other hand, increased metabolism means increased energy consumption by your body, helping you burn some extra calories. Massage improves blood circulation.
Why do I pee a lot after a massage?
First off, massages are dehydrating. Kneading and working muscle gets fluid pumping out of the soft tissue and into your circulatory system, where it heads toward your kidneys. That’s why many people have to pee right after a massage. You have to replenish all that lost water – by drinking more.
Why is my pee yellow after a massage?
The more yellow or dark-colored it is, the most dehydrated you are. If you are drinking enough water, your urine should be clear. Also, massage has a diuretic effect, meaning it causes increased passing of urine.
What should you not do after a massage?
  • Not Drinking Enough Water. After massage therapy, decreasing your water intake after the massage therapy is not ideal. …
  • Take A Shower Immediately. …
  • Taking Hot Shower. …
  • Eating A Large Meal. …
  • Drinking Coffee. …
  • Drinking Alcohol. …
  • Doing Strenuous Exercise or Activities. …
  • Stressing Yourself Out.
What are the 5 manipulations of massage?
  • Effleurage-Circular stroking movements.
  • Petrissage-Kneading movements.
  • Friction-Rubbing Strokes.
  • Vibration-Shaking movements to loosen the body.
  • Tapotement-Tapping


Why won’t my neck pain go away?
The most common causes of chronic neck pain are muscle strain and nerve compression. Depending on the symptoms you’re experiencing, it can be difficult to tell which of these is occurring. Most muscle strain comes from activities that place a lot of uneven strain on one side of your neck.
Why won’t my stiff neck go away?
A stiff neck is generally not a cause for alarm. However, see a doctor if: The stiffness is accompanied by other symptoms, such as a fever, a headache, or irritability. The stiffness does not go away within a few days and after trying home treatments such as NSAIDs and gentle stretching.
Is neck pain related to the heart?
Most people have neck pain at some point in their life. It’s usually due to neck muscle strain. But neck pain is also a common symptom of a heart attack. Protect your heart by recognizing when your neck pain is more than a temporary strain and might be due to a problem with your heart.
Why does my neck crunch when I roll my head?
Very small gas bubbles can form within your synovial joints (joints, including facet joints, that have a lubricating lining and fluid). When the bubbles collapse, they are released, which creates cracking noises in your joints. In this case, these cracking sounds can happen during your neck’s natural movements.
Do muscle knots move around when touched?
Trigger points often cause what doctors call referred pain. When a person presses on the trigger point, the pain spreads from the trigger point to nearby muscles. Sometimes, the muscle may twitch or move when the knot is pressed.
Can a chiropractor help with knots in the neck?
Muscles knots can be the result of joint dysfunction and restrictions in the body. If those aren’t resolved, then there’s no hope the muscle knot will be resolved, either. Chiropractors will remove dysfunction and restriction through hands-on chiropractic manipulation techniques.

Acute Neck Pain

Acute bouts of neck pain can be brought on by bending over a desk for long hours, poor standing posture, poor ergonomics (placement of computer monitor and keyboard), sleeping in awkward positions, twisting or turning the neck, sprains, and strains, and jarring it in an accident or while exercising.

Conditions That Affect Neck Pain

Certain conditions also affect neck pain such as fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis (narrow spinal canal), or cervical arthritis. Car accidents may cause whiplash, which may take months – even years – to resolve and may in some cases lead to a permanent condition. Ruptured disks and vertebral fractures may also result in more serious causes of neck pain.

Forward Head and Text-Neck

Two conditions that have become extremely common are forward head posture and text-neck, both a result of too many hours looking at our computer and phone screens. A forward head is a condition where the head is forward on the spine, causing pain in the neck and down the arms.  As a rule, for every inch, the head moves forward from a neutral position, and the pressure on the neck vertebrae and muscles increases by about 10 pounds. Strengthening the muscles that retract the neck such as the lower cervical extensors and upper cervical flexors along with stretching the sternocleidomastoid, scalene muscles and splenius capitis will help to correct this forward posture, reducing pain in the neck and pain and numbness down the arms.

The human head weighs about 10 to 12 pounds. When the head is in a neutral position, that weight can be supported by the neck muscles, but when the head is 30 degrees forward, the weight on those neck muscles increases to about 40 pounds. When the head is held forward 60 degrees, that weight increases to about 60 pounds pressure on the neck muscles. When we hold this position for any length of time, we create a repetitive use injury for our neck muscles, which is commonly called text-neck (often a result of using our phones too much). Tilting the head forward for as little as 2 to 4 hours per day has been shown to cause significant damage – even resulting in the need for spinal surgery.

Massage, Muscular Tension, and Trigger Points




Forward head and text-neck are both conditions that cause significant muscular tension in the neck and shoulders, which can result in the development of trigger points. Trigger points in the upper back muscles typically result in neck pain, while trigger points in the neck usually result in headaches.

When treating a client with a forwarding head position or text neck, the first step is to relax and lengthen the muscles that are involved in pulling the head forward. In order for the neck to move back into a neutral position, the shoulders must be back in a neutral position and not rounded forward. Working the pectoralis muscles to release and lengthen muscle fibers while stretching the muscle allows the shoulders to move back. Similarly, stretching and lengthening the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and scalene muscles allows the head to return to a neutral position.

Once the head is able to return to a more neutral posture, we can address tight muscle fibers and trigger points in the trapezius and levator scapula, both of which commonly result in neck pain. Splenius capitis and semispinalis capitis may also house trigger points and have no doubt been overstretched, and are most likely in need of attention.

When working in pectoralis muscles and upper back, using deep friction and effleurage strokes creates flushing of the muscle, bringing in fresh blood flow and with it fresh oxygenation that releases trigger points and benefits the muscle in relaxing and lengthening. Working on the neck, however, requires a more gentle touch. When working on the neck, it is imperative that pressure be added slowly in order to allow the client and the therapist time to react. It is also imperative that the therapist review the anatomy of delicate cervical structures, including vertebrae, veins, and nerves so as not to apply pressure that will cause unnecessary pain or cause damage.

Craniosacral Therapy and Neck Pain

In fact, one modality of massage that has been shown to greatly reduce neck pain in clients is craniosacral therapy. Designed with the idea that the cranium (skull), spinal cord (vertebrae), and sacrum are all connected and related, cranial-sacral offers a gentle approach to working the head, neck, spine, and lumbar areas. Using about 5 grams of pressure (the weight of a nickel), practitioners release muscle restrictions and allow for unwinding or a release of muscle tension in the areas being treated.

Craniosacral Therapy was developed by Osteopath William Sutherland to work with the whole person and the body’s own self-regulatory and self-healing systems, with consideration of the anatomy involved.

Trauma (physical and emotional) and modern life (with all its stresses); often triggers fight or flight responses; or defensive strategies and patterns of tension. These can be hard to let go of and can leave us in a partially activated state; with areas of tension, pain, and a variety of conditions. If these states remain ‘held’ they can lead to various long-term effects including chronic pain and fatigue.

The profound relaxation often reported during Craniosacral Therapy; allows the body to unwind and come out of these activated states (partially using the parasympathetic nervous system, at its designated task).  As the systems in the body are able to flow more freely, the body’s own healing processes are able to work more effectively with gentle support from the practitioner.

In this way, all sorts of different traumas, however long-held, can have an opportunity to heal themselves whether felt in body, mind, or spirit and we can become more present with ourselves.

Swedish Massage and Muscle Tension

Even the moderate effleurage of Swedish massage has been shown to reduce overall muscle tension, lengthen muscle fibers and increase blood flow and function to muscle, reducing pain overall. Massage has been demonstrated to be helpful when neck pain is the result of muscular problems. Studies have shown that more frequent massage is most beneficial: one-hour sessions, 2-3 times per week work best to restore both function and reduce muscle pain, especially during the first 4-6 weeks.

Overall, massage therapy has much to offer those who are suffering from neck pain. A practitioner who knows the precautions and anatomy is comfortable with the techniques and understands the functional aspects of neck movement and muscle can offer real relief to many clients who are suffering from acute and even long-term neck pain.

Swedish massage is the most traditional form of Western massage, and for many in the United States, it’s the image associated with massage. Swedish massage, or classic massage as it is called in some countries, is a relatively gentle massage form focused on the body’s superficial layers. It is provided to promote general relaxation and well-being and sometimes for relief of symptoms associated with health conditions. Swedish massage is known to promote circulation. Among the areas of research: is the potential of massage to improve blood pressure and other vital signs. In short, it’s gaining a reputation as more than just a stress-buster.

There are five basic strokes: effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction, and vibration. Petrissage refers to kneading motions, effleurage to stroking – the massage technique one may associate most strongly with Swedish massage and with the accompanying relaxation.

Swedish massage is generally practiced with the client or patient lying on a massage table with draping in place of outer clothing. Massage therapists use massage oils and may incorporate elements such as aroma to contribute to relaxation and wellness. Swedish massage may be practiced in spa settings or clinical settings. Many massage therapists provide sessions in their own homes and/ or travel to clients’ homes. Franchises are another common setting. Sessions are often an hour in length. Sessions performed for health benefits may be significantly shorter.

Many massage techniques are based in part on Swedish massage, so it provides a foundation even if career goals will require multiple modalities. For example, from Swedish massage, one may progress to deeper massage focused on the muscles of different parts of the body. Chair massage can use the Swedish massage technique, adapted for practicality. Prenatal massage is often based on Swedish massage but is designed to maximize symptom relief as well as ensure safety.


Therapeutic Deep Tissue, Swedish Massage, Sports Massage Therapy in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.

*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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