In this exercise we use a Shepherd’s hook to massage and/or stretch the muscles of the back of the neck and upper back. This can work well to isolate particular muscles and knots/trigger points in the back of the neck that are causing discomfort.
This exercise may be given to a variety of individuals, including those with very acute neck pain that can be easily exacerbated. The video below teaches the general technique. How much pressure you use and how often you do this depends on your condition. mdkPHYSIO provides specific recommendations to all patients, but in general, please be systematic when you do this. That means, start out with light pressure and shorter duration, and increase how much you do as tolerated.
What you should feel
Depending on what technique you are using, you may feel a massage or a stretch. The pressure should be kept so that you can relax while you are doing this. Some soreness is expected, but not so much that you are tensing up your muscles or that you feel worse later. The intent is that you feel some improvement when you are done this exercise.
Stop this exercise if you are unsure about what you are feeling or if it is painful in an unexpected way.
Posterior Neck Release with Hook
Here are the instructions and there is a video below that explains it all:
- Please the hook into the muscles of the back of your neck and shoulder blades. The photo below may help!
- You may need to massage until you find the “tight and sore” spots.
- When you find the “tight and sore” spots, this is where you will spend more time massaging and/or stretching.
- For the massaging technique: Do circles with the hook, massaging around the tight and sore areas.
- For the stretch and hold technique: Hold down the tight and sore spot, then bend your neck to the opposite side. You may need to adjust the angle you bend to achieve a better stretch. Hold a mild-to-moderate stretch (or as prescribed) for the specified duration.
- For the release technique: Hold down the tight and sore spot, then bend your neck to the opposite side to feel a stretch into the muscle. Instead of stopping, you will push into the stretch a little bit more (it will become an intense stretch) and then you will return slowly to the starting position. You may need to adjust the angle you bend to achieve a better stretch. Repeat for the specified repetitions.
- Depending on your condition, you may have several spots to cover or you may just have one.
mdkPHYSIO provides specific parameters to all patients, because everyone will require different parameters depending on their condition. In general, the ,”massage technique” is done for about 30 seconds per spot. The “stretch and hold” technique will be held for about 30 seconds and repeated 4 times. The “release technique” is usually performed for 5-6 repetitions per spot, but it really depends how irritable the area is (sometimes we can’t do this one at all). In fact, all the parameters completely depend on each individual’s condition.