The question I hear often is, “Are stiff neck treatments a waste of time?” Most people feel this way because no matter how many treatments they have to cure the pain of a stiff neck the result is temporary at best. In this post, I will explore 3 common treatments for neck pain from a stiff neck to whiplash.
Massage Therapy for Neck Pain
Massage is a very common stiff neck treatment or for the shoulder and upper back tightness. Most therapists will use deep tissue massage, muscle guns, heat, and/or special creams. All of these will give you some relief, however, the relief is temporary, and you will have to come back many times, if not for life.
Chiropractic care for Neck Pain from Whiplash
Chiropractors usually get more difficult cases like whiplash from a fall or accident. They will shoot x-rays to see which bones are out and then create a treatment plan to get you out of pain. While this has been successful for some patients, many times the whiplash pain becomes a nagging ailment. The chiropractor may use a muscle gun for softening muscles, ultrasound, traction, or massage. Again, there can be temporary relief, but if the muscles are holding tight and pulling bones back out of alignment, the results can be temporary.
Gadgets for DIY Stiff Neck Treatments
I cannot tell you how many of my clients bring me every gadget in the world that says it can stop their pain. I have seen gadgets that stretch your neck, collars for your neck that vibrate and/or heat up, and special chairs to alleviate your neck pain. This chair thing is probably the worse idea of the three!
Nothing can do it for you. You must do something yourself to stop any pain. Think about this, if a $40 gadget could solve my pain without doing anything more than put it on, then hospitals, therapy clinics, and chiropractic clinics would simply shut down.
Stiff Neck Treatments and Your Brain
All three of these options have one mistake in common. None of them address the connection between your brain and the emotional side of your muscles. Therapists and physicians are never trained in this connection and neither was I until I discovered it for myself.
The brain controls every movement you make out of pain or pleasure. If you are feeling pain, the brain’s job is to reduce or stop the pain. The brain will make you stand slanted if that relieves the pain. It will adjust your body in many ways to avoid pain. This may leave you with additional issues, but regardless, that is how we are wired. If the brain senses pleasure, then it will allow you to do it. This is called, “Fight or Flight Syndrome.”
Your muscles are the only thing that can move your body. Think of a quadriplegic, they have all the bones you have yet they cannot sit up or get up off the floor. They need the muscles to apply pressure to the bones before you can move anything.
Emotionally, your brain will stop moving the muscles if it senses danger, like falling off a cliff. I have written several posts about the causes of neck pain and now I am writing about using your brain to relax and release the tight muscles that are causing your pain. No one else but you can do this.
If you ever get a deep tissue massage or about to get an adjustment, feel how your body tightens right before it happens. Chiropractors will try to get you to relax right before the adjustment. This is to help adjust you because if you are holding too tight the adjustment is very difficult and unlikely to achieve what it is meant to. The same is true of stretching and massage. Stretching is not about the pressure but feeling the muscles letting go and stretching out. That is very different from what most people feel. They think it must hurt to be effective.
When you stretch, you must relax for the stretching to work. The more you relax into the stretch the better the body will let go. When a stiff neck treatment involves the brain and conscious relaxation there’s a better chance it won’t be a waste of your time!
If you would like to learn more about how to stretch to relieve neck pain watch out videos on our YouTube channel.