COVID-19 Updates

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Neck Pain

Neck pain is very common, with approximately 15% of the population suffering from neck pain per year1. The amount of pain associated with neck pain is very broad, ranging from mild pain that is a bit stiff and sore, to more severe debilitating pain. Like any other type of pain, neck pain can decrease quality of life and enjoyment.  

There are many causes of neck pain but some of the most common causes are whiplash, which can cause muscle strain and sprains in the neck, osteoarthritis, disc degeneration or herniation, compression of the nerves in the neck, repetitive strain injury, and staying in the same posture for too long, as well as a number of medical conditions2. However, the most common cause of chronic neck pain, or pain lasting more than 6 months is trauma to the neck and head due to a whiplash injury3.

As there are many causes of neck pain the symptoms can vary, however, typical symptoms include being stiff and sore, headaches, muscle spasms, difficulty with movements like shoulder checking while driving, difficulty staying in one position for periods of time and radiating pain into the arms. If the neck pain continues for a period of time the symptoms often change. Symptoms of chronic neck pain include a deep aching pain that often refers to the head or shoulders, headaches at the base of the skull4.

Massage Therapy Can Help

Research has shown that massage therapy can help decrease neck pain and tenderness as well as increase range of motion for people with neck pain. This is the case for neck pain that has developed recently and for those suffering from chronic pain5. Your massage therapist will work with you to determine the muscles affected and provide exercises to decrease the pain.

(Click image to view full brochure/infographic or Click here to return to the Benefits of Massage Therapy page)



1. Buchbinder, R., De, R., Hoy, D.G., Protani, M. (2010). The epidemiology of neck pain, Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, Vol 24, (6): 783-792. Accessed

2. Viznaik, N. & MacDonald, T. (2018). Quick Reference Evidence Informed Clinical Massage. Professional Health Systems Inc.

3. Guez, M., Hildingsson, C., Nilsson, M. & Toolanen, G. (2002) The prevalence of neck pain, Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica, 73:4, 455-459. Accessed

4. Herting, D, and Kessler, R. (2006). Management of Common Musculoskeletal Disorders: Physical Therapy Principles and Methods 4th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins pp. 734-736

5. Brosseau, L. et al. (2012). Ottawa panel evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on therapeutic massage for neck pain, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Vol 16:300-325 accessed