Neck Pain is Often Myofascial Pain
A common issue I see with my clients is neck and shoulder pain. So many of us experience it because “forward work” is very common in our society. Forward work can include many different types of activities from keyboarding and mousing, to washing dishes, to using power tools, childcare and beyond. Our bodies are designed for forward work so why is this such a problem? Many of us suffer from chronic tension and poor posture. As a result, our upper shoulders and neck become stiff and tight causing neck pain.
One of the first things we’re most likely to do to combat this pain is reach up and massage or rub the area. Massage is great; it’s a way to release some of the tension in our bodies and help us feel relaxed but then we’re using the same muscles that are tight in the first place. Additionally, if your fascia has become tight because of chronic tension and chronic poor posture, you are likely dealing with a fascia problem now and rubbing will not help much. What will? Myofascial release, particularly, the Barnes method. Say it with me: think fascia first!
Think Fascia First with Neck Pain and Try Myofascial Release
With the Barnes myofascial release method, we have a different approach. Relaxing our muscles often isn’t enough, but it is the first step to making more permanent change. Next, we need to release our fascia. If we want to release our fascia, then prolonged pressure and what we call “shearing” is how we want to combat that pesky neck and shoulder pain. Most of us don’t have the range of motion, strength, or stamina to reach up and use this technique on ourselves. Instead with find an expert Barnes method practitioner to help us. Not in the Omaha area? Here’s a directory to find a therapist.
You Must Participate in Your Healing with Myofascial Self-Treatment
One of the aspects of care that makes the Barnes Method of myofascial release unique is its emphasis on client participation. Once someone has come to see a therapist, like me, it is important that they learn about and take steps in their own healing process. If you follow my blog or other works, I’m sure you’ve noticed a lot of information about self-care. One of the best ways to release your fascia is with therapy balls. Therapy balls are a safe and efficient way to feel better, faster. I teach a great workshop, Myofascial Self-Care Stretching Workshop, on how to combine the balls with myofascial principles to use them everywhere in your body including your neck and shoulders. However, they there are some areas that are still hard to get with the therapy balls such as the upper shoulders. It is possible but I have found another way I really like and use myself.
Try the balls along with my book:
Take the workshop (includes balls):
Look for the In Person Myofascial Self-Care Stretching Workshop on my Classes and Workshops page. This 2-hour workshop is typically offered once per month.
Another Great Option to Use at Home
Today I want to share with you an additional tool to help you target neck and shoulder pain. It is called the Mobility Wall. The Mobility wall allows you to target your neck and shoulders while standing up. The Mobility Wall fits into a standard doorframe like a tension rod. Once you’ve put it in a doorframe, it can lock in place. You can then push into it using your body weight and leg muscles, rather than your arms.
The mobility wall is not specifically designed for Barnes style myofascial work but as with the therapy balls, you can use the tool and apply the principles. As shown in the video, you place your upper shoulders under the Mobility Wall and press up into it, then shear and hold. This targets your fascia, and you’ll likely get better results. To get long term results, you must also work on your posture and your tension.
Purchas the mobility wall here:
Now you have several options to get started addressing your neck pain including, finding a Barnes approach myofascial therapist, attending my self-care (glowingly reviewed) workshop or buying the book, or choosing the Mobility Wall tool.
We have to remember that we often can’t change all the aspects of our lives that put tension into our bodies, but we have ways we can chase the tension out. Taking a fascia focused approach to wellness can help you remove the tension that life puts in. What’s a fascia focused approach? Read more here.
Amy Mayer OTD, OTR/L, RYT
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