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Mary East, CMT
Muscle Energy Technique For Stiff Neck
Umai Health Center
. http://www.umaihealth.com/

Muscle Energy Technique For Stiff Neck

Ever wake up with a stiff neck and wonder what happened? Or, you notice that raising your arm over your head causes pain and you can't think of a reason why?

So often we think pain in our muscles and joint actions just come on all of a sudden when, in fact, it is often a case of the straw that broke the camel's back. Acute neck and shoulder pain can usually be identified especially if there is a “pop” or very distinct moment when the pain began.

Waking up with a stiff neck can be attributed to sleeping in an odd position and usually goes away by itself with heat and time. But sometimes the pain is due to excessive stress in the muscles caused by poor posture or prolonged hunching over of the shoulders.

When poor posture or stress is the culprit, getting those muscles to relax requires a bit more attention. The most common muscles associated with a stiff neck and inability to turn ones head can easily be teased into relaxation through a manual therapy called muscle energy technique or MET.

This type of therapy uses the muscles own contra-lever system to relax the muscle that has gotten stuck in the “on” position. By asking the contracted muscle to contract even more through gentle pressure, the muscle relaxes (once the contraction is halted).

Think of pushing a stuck drawer in then pulling out. MET therapy can be used on any of the larger moving muscle groups where certain muscle fibers have become to hypertonic or “tight” and can cause dysfunction and pain in both muscles and joint movements.

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