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July 1, 2005

Crick Week

Yesterday was adductor day, but the entire week has been "crick in the neck" week. I've had at least one client a day with this common but painful disorder of the neck.

I've always been curious as to the cause of a crick in the neck. However, the common medical literature describes it as something that sounds potentially more serious than any of the cases I've come across in my practice. An article from VancouverMassage.ca has the most sound advice I've found about neck cricks, its pathology, and self treatment.

My hands-on experience working with this condition gives me some ideas about what is occuring in the body. Usually a crick is found on one side of the neck at the juncture where it joins the thorax. Sleeping with the head in a awkward position, especially during transition seasons such as autumn and spring, is a typical onset scenario. Stress is a contributing factor (I had more clients complain of this condition the month following 9/11 than any other time in my practice history). Sudden movement out of the awkward position irritates the nerve and creates an over-protective muscle spasm commonly, though not exclusively, in the scalene muscles of the neck. Range of motion is limited by the muscle spasm.

The scalene muscles come in groups of three and assist with breathing and side-bending of the neck. Since there are many fibers in each scalene muscle, time and patience is required to work out these hypersensitive knots. The entire complex includes referred tensions in the neck, base of the skull, the upper back inside the shoulder blade and top of the shoulder. It usually takes two or three half-hour sessions of massage, depending on the severity of the crick, to work out the crick. Home care using heat, ice and range of motion stretching help speed recovery.

Posted by linda at July 1, 2005 9:19 AM

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