Neck pain is one of the leading complaints brought into Massage Therapists on a daily basis. Research has thoroughly gone into studying the neck flexors (front neck muscles), yet there is a lack of research into the neck extensors (back neck muscles). A study was recently done to look at the changes that undergo extensor neck muscles in people with neck pain. In the study, the muscles are found to change from type one to type two muscle fibers. What this means in layman’s terms, is that the back neck muscles change from being postural and able to support long periods of weight and stress, to being phasic and tiring out after supporting weight for too long. Massage Therapy can treat these muscles by using exercises to reactivate the muscles that are becoming phasic.
Due to modern desk work ergonomics, people are developing head forward posture with slumped shoulders. These people are getting tight, short chest and front of neck muscles, while the back muscles can get tight and long. Reactivating these tight and long muscles with massage therapy (and proper home exercises) will help to correct the poor posture, decrease the every day pain experienced and allow the dysfunctional muscles to function in postural support once more!