Rolfing for Stiff Neck

In a world where more people than ever spent significant amounts of time focused on a screen, large or small, neck pain affects the vast proportion of Americans. Research reported by Harvard Health notes that about 80% of Americans suffer neck pain at one time or another, and at any one moment, 20% to 50% of people report cervical pain.

Staying in one position for extended periods causes the muscles to tighten, and as they cause pain, it spreads to the neck and shoulders. Beyond the most common cervical strain, there

are many other causes, including degenerative changes in the cervical spine, which narrow the disc space and leads to pressure on nerves. Another more severe effect of the head being held in one position is discogenic pain which results from degeneration of the discs between the neck vertebrae. This is more common in older people. Cervical radiculopathy happens when a disc or arthritic changes press against the root of a nerve.

There are many ways to prevent the strain of neck muscles and avoid chronic neck pain:

  • Ensure that your work position seated or standing keeps your neck in a neutral position
  • Take short breaks at intervals through your work time
  • Work on maintaining good posture: head up and shoulders down
  • Support your arms while driving to reduce neck strain
  • Sleep with your neck in a neutral alignment with your body

There are several easy steps to take to relieve neck pain: Applying ice in short intervals and alternating with the application of heat in alternation furnishes relief to many. Careful stretching to increase range of motion can be effective. It is important to note that neck pain from a pinched nerve or other spinal cord issues should be conducted after consultation with your physician.

Many over-the-counter medications offer some measure of relief, with Ibuprofen leading the way for effectiveness. While these medications may offer some measure of relief, they come at the price of side effects for their short-term results. If prevention fails, home remedies are unsuccessful, and over-the-counter medication does not relieve the pain, your physician may prescribe a muscle relaxant medication.

Often it is recommended to combine the over-the-counter anti-inflammatory with a muscle relaxant since the combination is more effective than either alone.

There are several prescription medications used for neck pain. Two top choices are 1) Robaxin (methocarbamol) provides relief to many people with relatively few side effects and causes less sleepiness than similar medications. It is also relatively inexpensive. Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) is an inexpensive generic drug with significant drowsiness and dry mouth associated with its use.

A therapeutic approach that offers long-term relief with no evident side effects – Rolfing Structural Integration comes to the fore. Millions of Americans continue to experience the pain and discomfort of neck pain. A form of therapy that leads to long-term pain relief with no side

effects is increasingly an option. Long of questionable effectiveness since it lacked the money for major controlled studies, recent research demonstrates the efficacy of this treatment developed and honed over the past century with clinical support.

A retrospective research study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 13, Issue 3, July 2009, studied the effect of the standard ten-session Rolfing Structural Integration series on the reduction of neck pain. The study used a pre-post design to assess patients complaining of neck pain before and after the treatments. Data gathered included demographic information, including sex, age, height, weight, age, and occupation. Photographs taken before and after were assessed.

Over three years of clinical practice, this retrospective study analyzes changes in motion and pain levels at the neck for 31 subjects over three years who completed the RSI in 10 introductory sessions. Participants were evaluated before and after they received RSI. The data collected included: age, sex, occupation, referral source, diagnosis, height, weight, photographs of postural views, range of motion (ROM), pain, and functional complaints. ROM was assessed using

an arthrodial protractor to provide an accurate assessment of improvements in range of motion. Patient reporting set changes in pain and function. The data was analyzed using an ANOVA 3 way analysis of variance, which assessed the effects of various elements on the outcome.

The results as measured were dramatic. Average pain decreased at a statistically significant level, while the range of motion also increased significantly. The results were particularly notable by age. The average pain reported in the older group was reduced by 67%, and the results for younger people were 34%, and they experienced similar improvements in range of motion. The study concluded that the introductory ten sessions of Rolfing Structural Integration are capable of “significantly decreasing pain and increasing average range of motion in adult subjects, male and female, with complaints of cervical spine dysfunction regardless of age.

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