Neck Pain, self-relief from neck pain - an extract from 'A Bowen Therapists Notebook'

Relieling neck pain yourselfWARNING. Do not carry out the following procedure in any cases of injury. The procedure is not meant to replace medical advice from a qualified practitioner.

Neck pain can result for a variety of reasons, a common cause being poor posture whilst working at a computer or driving for long periods.

Figure 1 shows a person with pain that goes from just below the head and down the left side of the neck. The pain restricts the rotation of the head to the left.

The cause of the pain is usually a tight (hypertonus) muscle with a small knot deep within it. The knot is cramped muscle due to an accumulation of lactic acid. This impacts on the nerves within the muscle causing the pain. The aim of the exercise is to release the lactic acid without further aggravating the condition.

The anatomical drawing, Figure 2, shows the area of concern.

1. The area within the affected muscle (levator scapulae).

2. Shoulder blade (scapula).

3. Clavicle.

4. The head of the bone in the upper arm, (humerus).

5. A cut-away section of the major muscle that reaches across each shoulder and down from the top of the neck to the lower part of the back (Trapezius).

Area 1, though not apparently related to the neck pain, is the part that needs to be located and treated.

Figure 3 illustrates the position of the hand and fingers needed to relieve the discomfort.

The left hand is positioned over the right shoulder, the middle and index finger gently resting on the area just above the inner top edge of the shoulder blade. The right arm is supported in a relaxed position on the lap.

It is important that the two fingers of the left hand are laid flat on the skin and apply only light pressure. (See Figure 4.) Undue pressure will irritate the muscle and make the neck problem worse. (Paradoxically this inducement of pain can give relief for an indeterminate period as the body releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. However, like many painkillers, it does not necessarily remove the root cause of the problem.)

Figure 5 shows the means of applying the release technique.

To locate the spot slowly turn the head, without going into pain, from right to left. A raised area about 2 to 3 cms across should be felt moving under the fingers. If not, relocate the fingers slightly and repeat the movement of the head until the area is located. Maintain the pressure and rotate the head from side to side, going further around the arc each time, until full pain-free movement of the head and neck has been achieved. Remove the fingers from the shoulder and check to see if full rotation of the head is possible. If not, replace the fingers and repeat the procedure. If the pain has not dissipated at the third attempt then seek medical advice. In order to balance the neck muscles treat the other shoulder in the same manner.

Copyright reserved. Roy Wilson - Time to Treat.

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