Neck Pain Management

I originally published this post about ways to manage neck pain 4 years ago, but I thought it might be a good idea to re-post it with a few updates.

It would be great if just getting massage would keep your neck pain away, but I’m not going to pretend that massage alone is some kind of magical cure.  Managing chronic pain of any kind takes diligence. As a sufferer of chronic neck pain, I’d like to tell you some of the things that I do to manage the pain. These are not prescriptions, just some ideas of things that you might try to help yourself at home between massage appointments (and I don’t get any compensation for any products I recommend).

Move EVERY day. If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ve heard it before. If you missed it, click here.

Stretch. Especially the chest muscles. If you’ve been to my office for neck pain, chances are good that I’ve shown you the doorway stretch.

Doorway!

Doorway stretch to help with neck pain!

Arm position for "Doorway"

Arm position for “Doorway” stretch to help with neck pain.

If not, give me a call, and we’ll arrange something! ***Update – check out my page of stretches here. ***

For those of you who might like to venture into yoga, but don’t want to take a class, I highly recommend DVDs by Sara Ivanhoe. Her technique is very gentle and she usually has modifications for all different levels.

***Update – I also have found some wonderful sessions focused on neck pain with Cole Chance. Look for her on youtube.***

Along with the stretches, consider doing some strengthening exercises for the upper back and neck. Ask your favorite personal trainer for specific suggestions.

Create a goal to REALLY focus on better posture. Find ways to remind yourself. Put a note by your computer! Sit up Straight for mousepadAsk a buddy to give you a little nudge when they see you slouching. And be patient with yourself…bad habits are hard to break, but you can do it! ***Update – there’s an app for that! Or more accurately, lots of apps. If you love your technology, one of these might be for you! ***

Heat packs. Or alternating hot and cold packs. Great for circulation! (I am a person who hates cold, but sometimes using a little cold pack can reduce the inflammation just enough to ease neck pain.)

Press on the knots. You know how when you have neck pain, you automatically reach over your shoulder and start massaging? It’s because your body instinctively knows where to press. There are tools for the hard to reach places.

Try various shapes and densities of balls…tennis, bouncy rubber balls, lacrosse balls. I recommend sticking the ball in a long sock and draping the sock over the shoulder to reach spots on the upper back. Then stand against a wall to apply the pressure.

You might like a Backnobber or a Theracane, if a ball is not your cup of tea.  If you’d like to see how it works, just ask next time you are at my office!

Remember: don’t press so hard that it’s a “bad” kind of hurt. Don’t bruise yourself. Be gentle. Whenever you have a kink in your shoulder, be sure to work gently on the spot a few times a day for about a minute at a time. (A kink in your shoulder almost always is connected with neck pain).

TENS machines. I don’t even think you need a prescription for these any more, and I believe the over-the-counter ones are reasonably priced. Be sure to ask your doctor or physical therapist how to use these units.

Traction machines. I think you probably have to go to a physical therapist to get one of these. All I know is that my physical therapist made it possible for me to get one paid for by my insurance company, so it never hurts to ask. ***Update – Good news! The price for these have come down quite a lot since I got mine. And it appears that some sites (like this one: https://www.protherapysupplies.com/Shop-by-Brand/Saunders-Group/New-Designed-Saunders-Cervical-Traction-Device ) do not require a prescription. If I’m incorrect about that, let me know, I’ll look around more, because I have a client who was able to obtain one without a prescription. In any event, it still might be a good idea to see if your insurance company would help with the cost. Also, consult your doctor.***

Consider using a different pillow. One that supports your neck. A cervical neck pillow. Or occasionally sleep without any pillow at all. I find that sometimes my neck just needs to rest in a different position.

For all you ladies and gents out there that are carrying a heavy bag on your shoulder, consider lightening up that load, or at least alternating shoulders once in a while. At the very least, try carrying it with the strap crossing over your chest instead of putting all of the weight on one shoulder. Switch it up.

Last, but certainly not least…get yourself on a regular (at least monthly) massage schedule. You knew that was coming…it wouldn’t be a proper massage therapy site without a plug for regular massage, now would it? Remember, I specialize in massage for neck pain. Text me for an appointment! 315-464-0809

New location

I’m only a block away from the old location.

The official address is:
7243 State Fair Blvd, Suite #6
Syracuse, NY 13209

But…
I’m on the back side of the building.

So…
It’s easiest to come in on Jones Road…across from #7233.
We have a red roof.

There’s not a sign up yet, but when there is,
I’ll be in with Team Cole 2.0.

I’m in between Allstar and the New Beginnings Christian Center.

When you are scheduled to arrive for the first time, I’ll keep an eye out for you and try to wave you down.

Hot Stone Massage

Brrrrr!

It sure was cold today!

A hot stone massage sure sounds nice right about now!

Whattaya say?

Just shoot me a text and we’ll set up an appointment!

315-464-0809

 

P.S. I don’t charge any extra for a hot stone massage. It’s the same price as all the other massages!

Moving close by…

It’s a big transition time for Juniper Therapeutic Massage. The building sold and the new business going in has forced all the other businesses in the building to leave with very little warning.
I hope all my lovely clients will stick with me through the transition period. I’m not sure of my next permanent location, but if you call for an appointment, I can let you know what my temporary arrangements are.

Hormones and Pain

Even though this post does appear to be targeted to women, I hope that the men will read it too, because we are all affected by hormones, and far too many of us, both women and men, are affected by chronic pain.

What prompted me to start reading up on this topic was that many women I know have told me that their pain (joint pain, back pain, neck pain, basically ANY pain) was worse at certain times of the month and they felt that it was hormone related. Beyond that, every one of these women, myself included, have experienced the frustration of having a doctor be dismissive of the idea that hormonal fluctuations may increase pain in all areas of the body (not just in the female organs).

What IS a hormone anyway? A hormone is a substance produced in the body that stimulates cells or tissue to act. They are powerful.  Off the top of your head, can you guess how many hormones there are roaming around your body? A quick search on the internet will tell you that there are about 50 different hormones in the body…so yeah, hormones are kind of a big deal.

After reading many articles on this topic, I found that the consensus seems to be that hormones may very well play a big role in chronic pain. So, ladies: it is NOT all in your head! Here are just a few examples of the articles out there:

  • This article indicates that fluctuations in women’s hormonal cycles appear to be associated with changes in the response to pain: Click Here.
  • This article suggests that when estrogen levels are high, more endorphins are released and when estrogen levels are low, less endorphins are released: Click Here . Endorphins help us to feel less pain.
  • Even though estrogen and progesterone seem to be the biggest players in this game, there are other hormones that also participate. According to this site: Article_Chronic_Pain_And_Hormones, low levels of Vitamin D, cortisol, testosterone, thyroid and DHEA can all be connected to chronic pain.

If you would like to read more about hormones and their relation to pain, there are lots of articles here: www.hormonesandpaincare.com