Your neck is one of the commonest places to get triggers – and no wonder! Your neck muscles are working every waking hour of your day. They’re constantly supporting your head, adjusting your posture and working with your shoulder muscles.
Especially for people with office jobs, knowing how to self treat your trigger points for neck pain is vital. Why office jobs? If you’re sitting at a computer all day, take a moment to look around your office. In all likelihood, you’ll see your fellow workers slumped or hunched over their desks in varying degrees of tension.
Because you’re focusing on what’s going on your computer screen, it’s all too easy to forget how you’re sitting. And doing this for eight hours a day, five days a week (or more!) all adds up.
So, first things first – what’s a trigger point? The short definition is that it’s a tight band within your muscle. It’s like your muscle has switched on a small spasm, which just hasn’t relaxed out.
Why does your body do this? It’s part of a defensive reflex. Your muscles naturally contract when they feel they’ve been stretched too far. But for many people, parts of your muscle don’t release, and this leaves behind small ‘trigger points.’
And while some people get these triggers from a physical accident, it’s equally common to get triggers from sitting for a long time in a position where you’re putting strain on your muscles. (Like sitting with your neck in an awkward position.)
So, how do you self treat the trigger points for neck pain? Firstly, you need to be able to find trigger points. You’ll be looking for tight or thickened bands of muscle within an area that feels tender.
Another key with trigger points – they can refer pain to other locations. For example, triggers in your neck can refer pain up into you head – even causing what seems to be a tension headache. If you press on a spot in your neck that causes pain shooting up into your head – you’ve found an important trigger.
So, once you’ve found a trigger point, how do you self treat it? Well, the technique of acupressure works well for triggers in any muscle. When you’re using this technique on your neck, you can use the weight of your arm to create gentle pressure.
Some people also use a theracane (knobbly cane with bits you can stick into your muscles instead of using your fingers) or a knobble board (same idea, but you can lie down on it.) Both types of devices work well, however so do your own fingers, and especially when you’re learning, you need all the feedback sensation and sensitivity you can get.
The self-treatment works like this – using gentle pressure, push down on the trigger points. You’ll know you’re on the spot if it’s tender, or refers pain to another part of your body.
Then – this is important – back the pressure off. Reduce the pressure until you don’t feel any pain. Once you’re below the pain threshold, slowly increase the pressure over 60-90 seconds, always keeping below the point of pain.
Then, slowly release the pressure and stretch out your neck muscles.
How this works: trigger points are caused by a protective reflex of your body. When you apply pressure to the point, you reduce the blood flow to the muscle knot. This ‘resets’ the trigger and turns off the protective reflex.
That’s it! One very effective way to treat neck trigger points for neck pain. And the key – it should be completely painless. If it hurts, you’re not doing it right. So just go gently, you’ll find the triggers you need to deactivate and then switch them off.
If you want to find out more about treating trigger points, just fill in the form below. You’ll get a free information pack and join a free email course on trigger point releases and pain relief techniques.