woman performing neck stretch

How Massage Therapy can Help Neck Pain

Though a common ailment, the cause of neck pain is not so easy to diagnose or fix. One of the most commonly used treatments for neck pain is massage therapy. Poor posture is one common cause of neck pain and this article will focus how posture affects the neck and how massage therapy can relieve the pain.

The human neck is perfectly designed to support the head, with the curvature of the neck, muscles, vertebrae, discs, nerves, and ligaments playing a role supporting the head and allowing the neck to move. The complex biomechanics of the neck are fragile and poor posture can alter their workings causing movements of the head and neck to become painful.

Poor posture can cause the head to exert excessive pressure on the neck compressing the discs in the neck. Over time, this may cause degeneration of the discs, nerve compression, tightened muscles, less flexibility, arthritis, and excruciating pain.

Fortunately, massage therapy can be a very effective treatment. Before beginning treatment the trained Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) will assess the condition of the neck and determine which muscles need to be strengthened.

Usually treatment begins with massage therapy sessions to decrease muscle tension and increased muscle flexibility. This will help to relieve pain. Once some mobility has been restored the RMT will teach the patient exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles to improve posture. If the exercises aren’t done regularly, posture will not improve or may revert and the pain will return.

Exercises to Improve Posture and Reduce Pain

If you experience minor or occasional neck pain there are some exercises may be done at home. These basic exercises will help to loosen and strengthen the muscles in the neck and shoulders.

Head drop

Starting in a seated position, retract neck. Slowly move head up and backward as far as you can and hold for 30 seconds. Return to neutral position. Repeat 10 times.


In a seated position, bring head into neck retraction position, then slowly turn head diagonally to the right as far as you can, hold for 30 seconds , return to neutral position, then turn head diagonally to the left and hold for 30 seconds and repeat 10 times.

 Pectoral Stretch

This exercise can be performed on both arms or on one arm at a time.

  • Place arm on door frame and lunge forward until you feel a stretch in the chest
  • Hold for 25 seconds
  • Perform this stretch exercise at three different arm levels on each arm

Chin Tuck

Sitting in a chair or lying on a bed with no pillow.

  • Pull chin downward creating a double chin
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times

This exercise may be performed daily.

Scapular Squeezes

This exercise should be done several times per day.

  • Sit up straight and squeeze shoulder blades together
  • Next lower the shoulder blades towards the bum
  • Hold for 15 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times

Upper Trapezius Stretch

  • Tilt you head toward the shoulder as far as is comfortable
  • With your hand gently pull the head until you feel a stretch in the muscles on the opposite side of the neck
  • Hold for 25 seconds
  • Perform on other side of neck

Do not force the stretch.

Remember, exercises are more effective if muscles have been relaxed with massage therapy before beginning an exercise program.

The skilled Registered Massage Therapists at Ultimate Health Clinic are highly trained in massage techniques to provide relief from neck discomfort and pain. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call 905-251-0162 today.

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