Understanding Neck Pain and Restricted Movement

Will Lane, sports massage therapist offering massage at Bevan Wilson, shares his experience of working with neck pain.


Neck pain and restriction in your range of movement can be resultant from various factors, affecting the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments), facet joints of the upper spine. Tightness in the soft tissues can impinge upon the nerves and vascular tissue in this region with the head at certain angles.

Common Causes:

From my experience in movement and watching students over the years, neck problems are often related to stiff (often rounded) upper backs (the thoracic spine) and tightness in the muscles of the chest (pectoralis major and minor), which result in the shoulders sitting forward. These two factors mean that if we wish to look directly ahead, then we must lift our chin and project the head forward for our eyeline to meet a screen, for example and not be looking down.

 Muscles Around the Shoulder:

Approaching from the back, there are numerous muscles which connect between different parts of the shoulder blade (scapula) and the upper spine (thoracic vertebra), which then attach to the neck vertebra and base of the skull. Approaching from the front we have several muscles which connect between the collar bone (clavicle) and upper ribs to the neck vertebrae/ base of skull. That not all! The muscles of the chest (coming from the front) and the rotator cuff group (coming from the back), connect to our upper arm (humerus).

Big Picture:

To use the analogy of a pulley system we can see that there are numerous vectors of force impacting on the neck and shoulders from different angles and if one group are locked tight (shortened) the opposing group will be locked long.

What Can We Do?

Firstly, these things can’t be forced. We get out of shape over time and we vice versa. I advise working on upper back mobility and the muscles around the shoulders/chest which will begin to influence neck function for the better. An experienced (slow and gentle), yoga teacher, should be able to help, also consider sports massage to free up tight tissues. Used in conjunction, a very beneficial combination.

Trauma or Injury?

In this case, where structural changes may have occurred, I would refer to a medic and a scan to discern what is going on. Any sharp and shooting pains could indicate a nerve issue which should be addressed by a suitable medical professional.


In my capacity as a level 4 sports masseur and yoga teacher, I will thoroughly assess, then establish a course of treatment and have seen good results in clients with such issues.

                     Go well. Will Lane


If you would like to book a massage with Will, please call Bevan Wilson on 01483 424 505.

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