How to Massage a Stiff Neck

How to Massage a Stiff Neck

Stiff neck is a common problem among Americans of all ages, but especially among the younger population after the pandemic transferred many positions to remote working. Common symptoms triggered by a stiff neck include migraines, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, and brain fog—uncomfortable, to say the least, and debilitating at its worst.

Giving Yourself a Neck Massage

A neck massage is one of the most effective and safest ways to fix a stiff neck. A neck massage promotes relaxation by stimulating circulation in the neck muscles, relieving pain, and even increasing healthy hormones. In many cases, regular neck massages are good pain relieving methods that you may not need to seek any further treatment.

Read More: Best Pain-Relieving Essential Oils for Topical Use

Massaging the Surrounding Area

Follow these steps to massage your stiff neck. Note that each massage session should only be 3 to 5 minutes long:

  1. First, straighten and stretch your neck and back.
  2. Relax and lower your shoulders so they’re away from your ears.
  3. Locate wherever that hurts on your neck with three fingers and apply pressure. Massage clockwise gently, then counterclockwise.
  4. Alternatively, put one hand on each side of your neck with fingers on the sides of your spine. There should be approximately an inch between your two hands’ fingertips. Massage the muscles on the side of your neck from top to bottom.
  5. Open your chest. Use your right knuckles to apply pressure on top of your left shoulder. Massage in small circular motions to your shoulder tip. Repeat on the other side.

After the massage, stretch your arms, rotate your shoulders and neck, and open your chest. Make sure your muscles feel loosened before returning to your day!

Pressure Points for Neck Muscle Relief

You can also apply pressure to acupuncture points for neck muscle relief. Here are the most effective pressure points for a stiff or sore neck:

  • Jian Jing: About halfway between your neck and the beginning of your arm on the back. Don’t stimulate this pressure point if you’re pregnant!
  • Wind Pool: Behind your earlobe, close to the base of your skull toward your neck.
  • Zhong Zhu: Between the knuckles above your pinky and ring fingers. This pressure point is especially effective for relieving stress- and tension-related stiff neck muscles.
  • Other Ways to Relieve a Stiff Neck

    Heat therapy is another great way to relieve a stiff neck. Heat pads, hot showers, or herbal massage patches can help loosen neck muscles. If your stiff neck is a result of physical injuries, apply ice first to reduce the initial inflammation. If the strain is severe, you may need a soft neck collar to avoid unnecessary movements and further injuries.

    If you wake up with a stiff neck, you might need to switch pillows or mattresses. Supportive pillows are the best for people with neck pain. Meanwhile, medium-firm pillows and mattresses are your safest bet if you don’t want to go that far.

    Can I Use a Massage Gun on My Neck?

    Finally, what if you don’t want to massage by hand?

    Generally, using your massage gun for stiff neck treatment is safe. However, you need to avoid direct contact with your spine carefully and absolutely do not use a massage gun on the front part of your neck.

    So, the safest way is to only massage the soft tissues on the sides and shoulders. And once again, keep your massage sessions under five minutes and have no more than two sessions every day.

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