How to Make the Positive Effects of Your Massage Last Longer

By Judy Munday

Have you ever gone for a massage and told your RMT that your neck and upper shoulders were feeling sore, tight, or painful?

Neck pain is the second most common reported disorder of the musculoskeletal system after lower back pain. Pain or tension in the neck can have many causes but a postural dysfunction known as head-forward posture has been widely linked to adults with neck pain. 

After getting a massage, your neck may feel less painful and tight, allowing you to go about your daily life feeling much better. However, chances are, in a couple of days or weeks, the pain and tightness slowly start to return and you find yourself right back where you started. 

Studies have shown that combining strengthening exercises of the neck and upper back alongside your massage can help decrease neck pain and dysfunction more than if you only got a massage. The strengthening exercises aim to correct postural imbalances, like head-forward posture, that contribute to shoulder tension and neck pain. Individuals in the studies who got regular massage treatments and worked on gradually increasing the strength of certain muscle groups reported less pain for longer periods of time, while some even reported their pain resolving completely. 

If neck pain has you feeling stuck and massage is only providing temporary relief, it might be time to start implementing a couple exercises into your routine! Talk to your RMT about strengthening exercises that can help get you back on track! 

Examples of exercises:

  • Chin tucks
  • Wall angels
  • Y and T exercises


A Comparison of Two Methods of Strengthening Exercises with and Without Massage on Alleviation of the Chronic Neck Pain. 

Exercise Therapy for Office Workers With Nonspecific Neck Pain: A Systematic Review

The Relationship Between Forward Head Posture and Neck Pain: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Effectiveness of an Exercise Program to Improve Forward Head Posture in Normal Adults: A Randomized, Controlled 10-Week Trial