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Stiff Neck Causes and Remedial Self-Massage for Relief

The pain a stiff neck brings about can be very bothersome and serve as a hindrance when it comes to carrying out the tasks that we need to do everyday. But what exactly causes this tightness in our necks? I was thinking about just general ways that I can give you a little bit of help with some aches and pains. As you know, I've tried to specialize in musculoskeletal, hence the name. We also look at what's going on with the connective tissue as well. Things about joints, the fascia, the nervous system and ways to actually make you feel like you are feeling stable. Today, I'm going to focus on the neck and give you some tips on how you can relieve a ropy and bandy scalene if you’re on your own or cannot come into the clinic to see someone like me.

Causes of Stiff Neck:

  • Looking down for a long period while reading, writing, or using your phone;
  • Excessive or vigorous movement of the neck;
  • Sleeping in the wrong position, which exerts too much pressure on the neck
  • Clenching the jaw;
  • High stress levels;
  • Medical conditions such as osteoarthritis and spinal disorders
  • Trauma to the neck or back due to injuries, a hunched posture, or picking heavy weights; and
  • Sudden movement of the head due to whiplash, which can pull your neck muscles and also can give rise to other serious symptoms.
Source: Vaughan, J. (2021)

Treatment:

  • Feel along the suboccipital ridge all the way along, both sides, to see if they feel even.
  • The area that feels painful, is not the area of complaint.
  • Gently tuck your chin down and feel around the back of the lower part of your skull (the top 3 survival muscles) and feel around the lateral joints.
  • Feel with two fingers and do some cross-fiber work .
  • Keep your shoulders down so you do not activate the trapezius muscles.
  • Once you find the tight ridge, palpate and see if you can feel into the area where the ribs are.
  • Feel for the upper trapezius and duck anteriorly to it, then press your fingers down into that tight space.
  • Palpate around the other side to see if it’s the same or different.
  • Drop your ear down to give a little bit of softness to the tissue of the lateral neck which will allow you to really sink deeper into the muscle.
  • Press and depress onto that region of the lower neck, it is the area that feels like it would be accessing your first rib, by doing this movement we are also making small changes to the restrictions or tightness over the second rib.
  • Laterally flex away from the area and give yourself a little active stretch while sinking down a little deeper.
  • As you work along your neck, press towards it and then gently glide away.
  • Repeat the process one more time this time moving a little more medially. Come closer to the neck dropping down and in.
  • Start to pull away and take the chin away, then try to access those fibers for posterior scalene, dropping down and back then coming along and forward.
  • Palpate and see if that made a difference. The scalene should be feeling less taught and bandy, and you should feel better through the range.
I want you to think about the things that make a difference to the neck. Sometimes we have to look at other distal attachments. We can apply joint play on our first and second ribs if they are stiff, palpate along the clavicle where the subclavius is and work on those fibres. Focusing also on the pectoralis major and minor to improve functional movement of the clavicle and shoulder joints. Assess one side versus the other to see if the problems felt in the neck can be compared to and aligned with the tightness felt in the chest tissues. Watching the video attached to this blog will assist you greatly in some self-treatment options whenever you feel restricted in the neck. References: Source: Vaughan, J. (2021) How to Get Rid of a Stiff Neck. eMediHealth. Retrieved from https://www.emedihealth.com/bones-joints/manage-stiff-neck#some_causes_of_a_stiff_neck
inner leg tightness exercise

Treat Inner Leg Tightness Fast With This Simple Trick!

Long and Short Adductor Muscles

What are the adductor muscles how can we treat them? The adductor muscles are called adductor muscles because they add or adduct in. Anatomically, when we think of them, they are going to be attached to the pubic bone, and attach to either the femur or the pes anserine. The latter being our two longer joint adductors. Our adductor muscles assist us when it comes to moving the leg inwards. When the leg moves toward the body, it uses the longer adductors as the primary movers, and when the knee is in flexion, it uses mostly the shorter ones including brevis, and etcetera. The adductor muscles play a huge role in hip stability and pelvic control. They need to be treated if we see pain or instability of the ilia, the knee, in general tightness with sitting wide legged or cross legged. Moreover, it is also an indication for treatment if there has been sporting injuries where the pubic bone or soft tissue of the hip, thigh or pelvis is present.

Treating the Adductor Muscles

If you are going to treat someone who has any of the symptoms listed above the best way to do so is by having them lay sideways. To begin, we should first asses the ability to list the affected leg in both straight and knee bent movements. Why do we do this? It is so we can get an understanding of whether the short or longer adductors (or both) need to be treated. In the video demonstration below we can see that there is more weakness and incorrect lifting when the knee is bent and the longer adductors removed from the assessment. This meant my focus of treatment would be closer to the upper leg (proximal) rather than if she was weak and felt pain with a straight knee.

Steps to Follow

  1. Start to feel around the inner leg and gently palpate for muscle hypertonicity (muscle feels tight).
  2. With some lotion or lubricant, place your hands at around a 45 degree angle towards the upper inner thigh and slowly glide along the tissue—starting from just above the knee, towards the pubic bone.
  3. If you come across any taught bands, you can cross fiber across the belly of the muscle/s using a gentle action. There are loads of nerves housed along the inner thighs so this can be painful if too deep or too quickly frictioned.
  4. We can also work into the muscle groups palpating for long bands of firm or tight muscles. These normally run along the line of the femur and not across it. To address these restrictions, let us apply a positional release technique. The bands can start anywhere above the knee and soften midway along the femur or in nasty restricted cases all the way up to the pubic attachments.
  5. Now, making use of both your hands, place each thumb on the area where the tautness begins and  push your thumbs towards each other. This is called the positional release technique, which is an excellent way to change the tension between two ends of the muscle fiber. We actually shorten the muscle belly by physically bunching it into the middle. Think about an uncooked sausage and if you apply pressure at each end and direct towards the middle, then that area has less tension.
  6. Hold the positional release until you can feel a sensation at the tendons where it feels like it’s softening. For about 90 seconds or until you feel that the muscles start to give. It should feel slightly uncomfortable but not dreadful.
  7. Start to feel around the inner leg once again, and gently palpate for any further restrictions of the muscle. If there is still some tightness, repeat the process.
The video below shows me treating Kristen’s adductor muscles. We can see that in the start of the video she is experiencing hip flexion as well as difficulty when lifting her lower leg. Then after completing all these steps, we can see that she is feeling less tenderness in her adductor muscles and can actually lift her leg more easily in a better range. Watch the full video instruction below: Sources: Hank Grebehttps://www.istockphoto.com/photo/male-hip-adductor-complex-muscles-anterior-view-isolated-on-human-skeleton-gm1271838675-374300620?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=srp_photos_top&utm_content=https%3A%2F%2Funsplash.com%2Fs%2Fphotos%2Fadductor-muscles&utm_term=adductor%20muscles%3A%3Asearch-aggressive-affiliates-v1%3Aa Adductor Magnus. (2012). Physiopedia. https://www.physio pedia.com/Adductor_Magnus
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