Neck pain and stiffness can make daily life difficult and even prevent your ability to work or function. Resolving neck pain may require long-term treatment and the joint efforts of many health care providers, including medical doctors, chiropractors and licensed massage therapists. Massage has long been used as a method of improving neck pain and stiffness, and many methods can be performed at home to supplement professional massage therapy.
Relaxing Therapeutic Touch
Stress aggravates the sympathetic nervous system, releasing stress hormones that increase heart rate and blood pressure and ready the muscles of the body for flight. The simple and light touch of another can help to relieve stress and tension that may lead to pain or stiffness. This approach is sometimes called therapeutic touch. Relax in a comfortable position and have a partner gently place her hands on your neck and upper back. Your partner can place her hands over the tense or painful area, or use motions like brushing, circling and tapping. Focus on the touch sensation and relaxing the area as completely as possible.
Experiencing a Professional Massage
Licensed massage therapists are versed in a variety of massage techniques. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, Swedish massage is the most common type of massage. Swedish massage is a light, relaxing massage that can help alleviate neck pain and stiffness. Deep tissue massage is another option that is appropriate for pain and injury. It involves more pressure and addresses deeper tissue.