Tuesday, 7 November 2017

How a little crick can become a pain in the neck?

 Firstly, a “crick” is an informal term, not a medical one.  We tend to use it to explain a lack of movement, a sort of locking/sticking and it may even make a clicking sound in the neck (or shoulders too).  A crick may not be that painful, it can be more irritating, uncomfortable or painless, or it maybe it is painful in a particular position or movement.  But we mustn’t underestimate a crick in the neck, even though it maybe not that painful, it can make us miserable and affect or ability and desire to do things.

A crick in the neck can suddenly appear, we may wake up one morning with it (and we can never find an explanation for it) or perhaps we can relate it back to something we did or a particular incident.  Neck pain can resolve itself and disappear within a few days, weeks without needing any sort of treatment.  But cricks in the neck do have the potential to last and if it lasts for longer than a few weeks will generally become chronic (long-term) neck pain and should definitely be properly assessed and treated!

Why?  Because unless we are able to perform normal smooth gliding movement through our joints, ligaments and muscles, our body is clever and will alert specialised sensory receptors to protect the area.  Inflammation will occur and we find another way to compensate for this lack of movement.

This lack of movement, inflammation, constant contraction and hence overuse of the neck muscles will lead to stiffness in the soft tissues and the sensory receptors become hypersensitive, causing the central nervous system (our brain) to continuously protect the area.  This is all part of our body’s natural repair process but often our neck and/or shoulders get stuck in this “rut”.

If we continue in this pattern of restricted neck movement, then larger areas of the neck, shoulder and spine are used to compensate and slowly our body’s soft tissue adapt and hence our posture may change too and this can lead to a whole host of additional symptoms and pain in other areas of the body.  This hypersensitivity can then become the main source of our pain!

 As a Remedial Massage Therapist my aim is to get you out of this hypersensitive “rut” of a “crick in the neck”.  I work with you and your body’s soft tissue in a very controlled and comfortable manner in order to convince the brain that it is now safe to move stiff necks in directions that were once locked and painful.

Most cricks in the necks respond well to HANDS-ON therapy.   In particular the slower hands-on techniques I use, using the heat and energy of my hands, applied over a sustained length of time (about 3 – 5 mins) create both a mental and physical shift from our heightened hyper sensitive fight and flight status, because of injury, fear or stress, to more relaxed ligaments and muscles and lubricated joints.  My goal is to remove the restrictions and to restore the body’s equilibrium!

Just out of interest too….my recent continued professional development of the last year has included a Diploma in Myofascial Release, and this month I am going to complete the section on treating the Temporomandibular Joint (the jaw) which is very often the cause and associated with neck and head pain.

Please let me know if you have any comments, queries or how I can help?

November 2017