Posted on
August 1, 2019

Many people instinctively turn to massages when neck pain strikes, however there is very little evidence that shows self-massage (using a foam roller or massage ball, for example) to be effective for treatment of neck pain. There is, however, some evidence which shows some benefit from manual therapy and massage techniques by trained specialists. 

Massages fall into the category of passive treatment, meaning that it is done by another person e.g. a massage therapist. Chronic neck pain can be difficult to get rid of, and for most people it is not feasible to see a massage therapist for treatment on a regular basis.

If you find yourself dealing with neck pain, it is important to stick with active interventions as the first line of treatment. This means movement and activity that you can easily do yourself on a daily basis. 

One of the very best courses of action when neck pain strikes is to remain active and do regular strengthening and stretching exercises. Choose an approach that you can stick to on a consistent basis. If you don't usually exercise, it can be helpful to find a solution of exercises that you can do daily from the comfort of your own home. This active and regular approach to your recovery is proven to lead to benefits that will last a long time!

So with all this being said, remember that massages can help with neck pain in providing short-term symptom relief, but they shouldn't be a standalone treatment. Exercise has more evidence to support it than massage and the research actually shows that manual therapy including massage is most effective when combined with exercise. So, make sure to focus most of your energy on exercising and keeping active!