According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 70% of individuals will experience neck pain that affects them frequently at some point in their life. For some, turning to medication is the first step to finding relief. And, taking medication may temporarily reduce or eliminate the pain, but at what cost to your organs? Plus, pain killers just cover up the symptom rather than fixing the root cause of the issue. Instead of turning to medication to reduce your neck pain, why not give yourself a massage?
A natural remedy like a massage is much safer than medication and less likely to cause long-term damage to your organs (a symptom of overmedication; chronic medication use). However, giving yourself a neck could seem difficult and possibly unsafe. So, how do you massage your neck muscles safely?
Most people will run to a massage therapist and spend hundreds for a quick fix. And while that will work, the costs associated quickly add up for someone who experiences neck pain frequently. So, why not give yourself a quick massage and save money?
In this article, you will learn how to massage your neck muscles safely. We will go over the five steps you need to know to make your pain disappear, without costing you anything more than a few minutes of your time.
Ready for relief? Let’s start by making the case for why learning how to massage your neck muscles safely is so important.
Why Learn How To Massage Your Neck Muscles Safely?
Massages feel so good … during and after! Being able to handle it yourself makes it more convenient and of course, affordable. But, what are some other benefits of self-massaging the neck?
Benefits Of Self Massaging The Neck
- Improved Neck Strength And Flexibility Have you ever woken up from a long night of sleep only to wake up with a piercing pain in your neck or shoulders? In most instances, your muscles got tight, pinched up, or were stretched out too much. It hurts! Self-massaging the neck will help reduce these painful morning routines.
- Improved Blood Circulation Want to think better, faster, and clearer. Self-massaging helps to stimulate blood flow and the neck just happens to be where the brain is. Since the brain needs adequate blood flow, it makes logical sense that improved blood flow would help you think better, faster, and clearer.
- Reduces Pain In The Neck, Shoulders, And Back Self-massaging your neck will obviously help to reduce pain in your neck, but it will also help reduce pain in the surrounding areas including your head (headaches, migraines), your shoulders, and your back.
- Decreases Stress And Helps Relax The Mind A massage feels so good, it is easy to melt away from all the troubles and cares that have stressed you out. Your focus is on your body, not your problems. What you will see is a decrease in stress and pain, helping to improve your overall mental health.
Learning Proper Technique Is Important To Keep Your Neck Healthy & Safe
A self-massage is a great way to reduce pain, increase blood flow, and improve your mental health. However, it is important that you learn to do it safely so you do not end up in more pain. Learning the proper techniques is important to keep your neck healthy and safe, and that is exactly what we want to show you right now!
How To Massage Your Neck Muscles Safely: Step By Step Guide
Ready to learn how to massage your neck muscles safely? It’s not as complicated as it sounds. We will attempt to break it down for you below. But we encourage you to watch videos on these techniques as well - visual demonstration will help you perfect the technique. Step one is to warm up your neck muscles and grab your massage cream/lotion. From there, get into a standing position and allow your body to relax. Then, it’s time to start massaging that neck. Let’s begin with some mobilization movements.
Step 1: Mobilize The Neck
Take a deep breath and lower your chin down to your chest. Hold this position for five seconds. After five seconds, slowly raise your head back up until your head is back at normal position (eyes looking directly at a wall). Repeat this step (Step 2) until you feel the tension start to go away (roughly five to ten times).
Step 2: Massage The Back Of Your Neck
After you have completed the breathing portion, it is time to start working on the neck directly. Take your hand and place it on the back of your neck, just below your hairline. Using two fingers, find where your neck meets the top of your spine and press lightly. Press lightly, in a downward motion with your fingers, until you feel relief in your neck and shoulders.
*If you do not feel relief, use more pressure. If you feel more pain, use less pressure.
Step 3: Massage The Back Of Your Neck And Your Upper Back
Again, take your hand and place it on the back of your neck, just below the hairline. Using two fingers, find where your neck meets the top of your spine and press lightly. Now move your fingers in a downward motion on either side of your spine (if using the right hand, go down the right side of your spine; if using the left hand, go down the left side of the spine).
Push down with more pressure and go further down the spine until you reach the middle of your shoulders. While pushing down, sweep towards the outside of your body like you are trying to wipe away the pain. Do this several times until you feel the tension leaving your neck and shoulder area (roughly five to ten times).
Step 4: Apply Pressure With Movement
Return to the standing position, looking directly at a wall. Take your right hand and cup it around your neck, thumb facing downward with the fingertips on the midpoint of the back of your neck. Squeeze gently and lean your neck away from your hand (right hand; lean left). While your head is tilted, breathe deep and hold it for two or three seconds. Exhale and slowly return your head to the upright position. When finished, switch hands and repeat the process in the opposite direction. Continue to do this until you feel the pain in your neck and shoulders start to leave (roughly five to ten times).
Step 5: Bring The Foam Roller Into Play
Now, it is time to change positions. You will need a foam roller and a smooth, flat area where you can lay down.
Lay the foam roller on the ground. Then lay down on the ground and make sure that the foam roller is under your head and neck (it should be touching your hair, but partially touching your neck too). Now, cross your arms over your chest with each hand touching the opposite shoulder. Bring your feet towards your butt while keeping them on the ground (your knees should be up, your feet should be down).
Once in position, use your feet to push your body up and down on the foam roller. This uses gravity to give you a deeper massage. It can be a little more painful at the beginning as you start to release deeper knots in your neck.
Two Tips To Remember When Self Massaging The Neck
Whenever you are massaging your neck, always use a high-quality lotion to help your fingers glide. Nothing is more painful or irritating than fingers/hands that will not slide easily. Better yet, get a CBD massage cream that can help reduce inflammation in its own regard.
Secondly, use a warm towel to help relax your muscles during your massage. Make sure it is not too hot so that you can leave it on the affected area for longer than two or three minutes. If you cannot do that, it is too hot. You should make sure the muscles in question are warm before you start massaging. The same goes for performing mobility exercises - always warm up!
Other Ways To Help Manage Neck Pain Besides Self Massage
If you experience neck pain frequently, you may need to do more than just treat it with a massage. In fact, some of your neck pain may be from weak, immobile neck muscles that need to be trained more. Most jobs have you sitting for most of the day, causing tech neck - and this can lead to poor posture and forward head syndrome.
To combat this, you should try neck training with the help of neck workout equipment. A stronger neck is not only more resilient to injury and pain - it is less stiff, too. Learn other ways to loosen a stiff neck in our related article.
Specialized equipment can help to strengthen your neck muscles and reduce the likelihood of continued chronic pain. Of course, if your pain is beyond bearable, then you should speak with a doctor to make sure you are not dealing with something more dangerous.
Don't Medicate - Learn How To Massage Your Neck Muscles Safely
People medicate like kids eating candy that their parents have hidden. Unfortunately, this has caused a dependence on medications that is dangerous and unsafe for long-term use. Instead of leaning towards medication, use safe massage techniques and neck training equipment. Combined, these are faster, safer, and more affordable, without the risk of damaging your organs or possibly even killing them.