Relieving Neck and Shoulder Pain & Tightness.Muscle Tone Restoration. Updated January 27, 2010.
Quick outline of how Restoring tissue in the Neck and Shoulders, improves the whole body
Most of my clients have some sort of neck and shoulder discomfort, and would like to know more about the causes and possible long lasting remedies for this condition. This article addresses these issues. I am also guessing that you don't have much time so I kept it brief, but if you would like more details please submit a comment.
Take away tightness, the pain disappears and the whole body feels great.
Do you remember when you were in your teens, just how flexible you were? You were able to spring into action and do anything just at the thought of it. And all without any aches and pains afterwards. Your neck was so flexible, that you could turn and look behind your shoulders with ease. In our adulthood, we find that our range of motion is very gradually being diminished. This takes place over such a long time period, that we don't notice the change. Often accompanying this reducing range of motion, is the tightness, discomfort and even pain. No my friends, this is not the result of aging! Take away the tightness and you will feel young again!
Get More than just Pain Relief.
Restoring Muscle Condition results in a chain reaction of Benefits:
Relieves Muscle Pain and Joint Pain.
Relieves Muscle Tension and Restore Muscle Efficiency.
Increases Flexibility and Range of Motion.
Improves Blood Circulation and Energy Levels.
Improves Lymph Drainage and the Immune System.
Relieves pressure on nerves - Prevent Pain Spreading.
For a detailed list of benefits from Trigger Point treatment go to the Health BENEFITS page.
Visualize how much better you could feel.
So where is your tightness, discomfort and/or pain? Perhaps in the shoulder, at the base of the neck on each side, on either side of the neck itself, and very importantly the base of the skull, the occiput. And let's not forget the headaches in other areas of the head such as on the side of the head by the temples, above the eye, the upper middle head, back of head, and the jaw. In other articles on this site you can learn how all of these can be related to a tight shoulder.
Treatment for neck and shoulders.
There are several layers of different muscle groups with different attachment locations on bone structures, running in different directions. The firing or contraction of a chosen set of muscles, each to just the right degree, produces the desired movement. In the case of the neck and shoulders, the main muscles or groups are the trapezius which is most superficial, and the splenius, the levator scapula, and the scalenes, all in order of each muscle's depth.
Everyone's got some degree of tightness.
Almost everyone I have met has some degree of tightness in the neck and shoulders. Perhaps you don't feel pain at this moment but if you palpate (feel with your fingers) your neck and shoulders, you will feel some muscles that are tight and firm. This is where you will likely find a sensation we can describe as discomfort or pain. Sometimes it is dull and mild and sometimes so intense it can even cause a headache.
How tightness turns to a pain in the neck.
Muscles should be firm or "hard", only when flexed. At rest, muscles should be relaxed, that is "soft with form", called 'resting tone'. This is just enough muscle tension to hold our bodies and joints together. Unfortunately, at rest or during sleep, excess muscle tension in some areas still remain. This condition can remain for a long time, with only slight fluctuations. If it worsens, the tension in this muscle could increase, and cause neighboring muscles to tighten as well. Soon the discomfort from tightness turns to pain.
How did this all start?
So, how did all this start in the first place? It starts with some kind of trauma to a muscle, tendon or ligament. Trauma is anything that causes intense and sustained pain like an injury, sudden muscular exertion, performing a task at an awkward angle, surgery, and even bad posture, and anxiety and stress. In the case of the neck and shoulders the cause could be whiplash, a nap on the couch, hunching over the computer, carrying heavy shoulder bags and don't forget the stress. You get the idea. These could be starting points, or could aggravate already-existing muscle tension. The sensation of pain tightens the related muscles, which in turn affects blood circulation, and impinges on nerves, often resulting in more pain, and more tightness. Hence, we have a vicious cycle, and if this condition is not addressed, it will self perpetuate. Thus, muscle tightness is directly related to discomfort and pain. So how do we sometimes manage to live with it for so long? And what happens during this time? You will find detailed descriptions of the cycle of tension, and the factors that affect it in the Understanding Trigger Point page.
Links to Illustrations of key neck muscles
To see visuals of muscles of the neck and shoulders click on the links below.
Neck - Upper Trapezius Muscles Image
Shoulder - Mid Trapezius Muscles Image
Neck and Shoulderblade - Levator Scapular Image
Side of Neck - Sternocleido Mastoid Muscles Image
Base of skull (Occiput) - Spenius Muscles Image