How to: Scraping for Neck Tension

Ariana Purificati Fune

Neck tension, the dreaded and the inevitable. Whether you experienced an injury or are stuck staring at your computer all day, falling into the tech neck trap, pain in your neck can take a toll on your everyday life.

We’ve all tried stretching to relieve tension but a comprehensive plan may be what we really need, starting with muscle scraping. 

In this article, we will take you through the best areas to scrape, the most effective techniques to use, and other exercises that will help you get rid of tension and pain in your neck. 

Causes of Neck Tension

Neck tension is often associated with muscle strain caused by whiplash, sport injuries, or any other trauma to the area. When a muscle gets injured, it gets weak and has to work exponentially harder to complete the same tasks. As a result, the muscle is constantly overworked causing it to feel stiff, and likely painful. 

Furthermore, “poor posture” is the most commonly speculated reason for neck tension and neck pain. However, recent research has shown that forward head, or “slumped” posture may not be correlated to neck pain, and that there may be other confounding factors. 

Studies have speculated on many other risk factors for neck pain including psychological factors, work-related factors, neuromusculoskeletal disorders, and many more. We will look from an anatomical standpoint to provide you with an introductory treatment plan. 

Scraping for Neck Tension

There is a surprising amount of muscles around the neck that can stiffen up and cause discomfort. Muscles include the sternocleidomastoid, the trapezius, the suboccipitals, and the deep neck flexors. 

Based on the ancient technique of gua sha, muscle scraping has been proven effective in treating soft tissue injuries. By breaking up small, subcutaneous blood vessels, more efficient vascular is produced bringing new blood flow to the area. Fresh blood flow brings many benefits. 

The physical friction, combined with blood flow, helps remove scar tissue and break up adhesions in soft tissue. This will reduce tension and feelings of discomfort in the neck when scraped. 

In addition, scraping can passively warm up muscles before exercising. Reducing tension, and increasing extensibility will allow you to move through the full range of motion during strength exercises and gain more benefits. 

How to Scrape for Neck Tension

Apply an emollient spray to reduce uncomfortable friction, then scrape each of these areas for about 30-60 seconds, or until you see a large amount of redness on your skin, whichever comes first. If you do see petechiae, give yourself about 48 hours between sessions to avoid bruising. Use moderate pressure – remember, scraping should not hurt!

Strength Exercises

As mentioned above, weak muscles are prone to tension and pain. Improving your strength will allow your muscles to tolerate more load to avoid them being overworked by baseline stresses.

Perform 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps of these exercises 3-4 times per week, giving yourself 24 in between to let your muscles recover. If you’re new to exercising, start on the lower range of sets and repetitions, then build up from week to week!

Stretching

Although not the sole cure for muscle tension, it is still important to keep stretching as part of your routine to prevent excess stiffness. 

Perform each of these stretches for 30 seconds on each side, at least once per day. 

Conclusion

All around, muscle scraping is excellent for treating neck tension and neck pain. Bringing new blood flow to the area breaks up adhesions and passively warms up the muscles to prepare for strength exercises. 

Sidekick Tools can supply all of the equipment needed to complete the treatment plan for neck tension! Order yourself an Echo Muscle Reliever and resistance bands and start tackling that neck pain today.

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Ariana Purificati Fune

Ariana is a Certified Personal Trainer and holds a BSc in Kinesiology. She has a passion for making fitness inclusive and accessible to everyone.

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