Unless you’ve been injured, your sore neck most likely comes from tightness in muscles created by postural issues related to the position of your head. Your shoulders are rolled forward and your head is forward.
So why is your neck sore? Simply put, your neck muscles are in a constant battle to keep your head from rolling off the top of your spine. Some of the muscles in the battle are attached to the top of your shoulder blades, dragging your shoulders up. Elevated shoulders cause your pectoral muscles to contract and try to help manage the weight shift. The muscles between your spine and shoulder blade (the rhomboids) usually just form knots to try to compensate. In front, your droopy head causes you to have to raise your head to keep your eyes level, putting more stress on the disks in your spine. In short, it’s a mess.
Targeted massage can be very powerful, especially in releasing the tight, overactive muscles and shortened fascia that are holding the pattern that has been built in from years of constant forward flexion.
Most human heads weigh 12 pounds. If it’s off balance just 3” forward of the shoulders, it creates a weight on the spine of almost 42 pounds.
A qualified massage therapist can work to release those knots, realign muscle fibers and help muscles realign to strengthen the inhibited muscles, such as the lower scapular (shoulder blade) stabilizers that have nearly given up in the battle against the overpowering pectoral muscles.
Of course, you should also look at what’s causing the postural problems. That means some “environmental modification” that could include adjusting your chair height and angle and adjusting your desk to ensure your arms are relaxed with your elbows closer to your sides. And, in addition, adjusting the position of your keyboard, mouse, trackpad or other pointing device.
Once your workspace is sorted, see your massage therapist. Your therapist will work on both the muscles involved in supporting your head, but also the muscles that help position your shoulders and muscles that affect your range of motion. The result? You’ll be able to turn and move your head more comfortably and the neck pain will subside.
Your therapists will also show you some self-care stretches to help solve the question – “why is your neck sore” after your session and recommend one or more return visits so you can continue to feel (and look) like you’re immune to a debilitating “stiff neck”.