Cervical massage: Danger? (Can we get a massage?)

cervical massage

You may have heard that the cervical massage is a great way to relieve tension headaches, neck pain and even stress.

But did you know that it can be dangerous in some extremely rare cases? A study has shown that cervical artery dissection is a potential cause of stroke that can occur after cervical manipulations.

This type of stroke occurs when there is a tear in the wall of an artery in the neck. This tear can block blood flow to the brain and cause a stroke. In this article, we will discuss the dangers of neck massage and how to avoid them.

Definition of cervical massage

Le cervical massage is a type of therapeutic massage specifically designed to target the muscles and tissues of the neck. This massage can help relieve tension headaches, neck pain, and upper back pain.

It can also be used to improve neck range of motion and promote relaxation.

Le cervical massage is usually performed with the patient lying on their back on a massage table.

The therapist uses their hands to exert pressure on the muscles and tissues in the neck and shoulder area. Massage may also include gentle stretching and range of motion exercises.

Which therapists perform cervical massage?

Different types of therapists can perform cervical massage, including osteopaths, physiotherapists (physiotherapists), masseurs and chiropractors. Each type of therapist has their own unique training and skills, so it's important to choose the one that's best suited to your needs.


Osteopaths are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. They use various techniques, including massage, to treat their patients. Osteopaths typically have a four-year degree in osteopathic medicine.

Physiotherapists (physiotherapists)

Physical therapists (kinesitherapists) are medical professionals who help people recover from injuries and manage chronic illnesses. They use a variety of techniques, including massage, to help their patients regain movement and function. Physical therapists typically have a four-year degree in physical therapy.

The masseurs

The masseurs are trained in the art of massage. They use their hands to manipulate the muscles and soft tissues of the body to relieve pain and tension. Masseurs usually have a two-year degree in massage therapy.


Chiropractors are medical professionals who focus on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. They use a variety of techniques, including massage, to treat their patients. Chiropractors typically have a four-year degree in chiropractic medicine.

The benefits of cervical massage

The cervical massage offer a wide range of benefits that can improve a person's overall health and well-being. Some of the main benefits include reducing neck pain, relieving nerve pressure and promoting healing.

One of the most immediate benefits of cervical massage is that they can help reduce neck pain. Neck pain is often caused by tight muscles, and massaging these muscles can help relieve tension and reduce pain.

The cervical massage can also help relieve pressure on the nerves. This pressure can cause pain, tingling, or numbness in the arms or hands. Neck massage can help reduce this pressure and relieve associated symptoms.

Finally, cervical massage can promote healing. They can help increase blood flow to the affected area, which can promote tissue healing and regeneration. Additionally, they can potentially help flush toxins from the area and reduce inflammation. All of these factors can promote healing and speed up the recovery process.

Cervical massages, what risk? (Danger ?)

It has been demonstrated that the cervical massage are a type of massage that are beneficial for relieving tension headaches, neck pain and improving range of motion. However, the cervical massage involve certain risks.

The dangers associated with cervical massage are:

  • Cerebrovascular accident (CVA): THEvertebral artery can be damaged during a cervical massage, which can lead to a stroke.
  • Rhabdomyolysis : This is a condition that can occur when muscles break down and release their contents into the bloodstream. This can lead to kidney damage.
  • neck pain : Massaging the neck may aggravate existing neck pain.
  • Headaches : Neck massage can make tension headaches worse.
  • Carotid sinus hypersensitivity : This is a condition in which the carotid sinus, located in the neck, is overly sensitive and can cause rapid heartbeat, fainting, and even death.
  • Vertebral artery dissection : This is a tear in the vertebral artery, which can lead to a stroke.
  • Cervical spondylosis : This is a condition that occurs when the discs between the vertebrae of the neck begin to wear out. It can lead to pain and stiffness in the neck.
  • Rupture of the esophagus : The esophagus is a tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. A cervical massage can exert pressure on this tube and cause it to rupture.

What are the factors that could increase the risks?

  • Osteoporosis: People with osteoporosis are more likely to suffer a stroke or other injury from massage.
  • History of cervical fracture : A person who has already suffered a fracture of the cervix is ​​at increased risk of further injury during neck massage.

Massage is less aggressive than joint manipulation (and therefore safer in general)

Manipulating the joints can cause microdamage to the nearby artery, which can lead to a stroke. As it is associated with high velocity movement, it is considered more aggressive than massage.

A qualified therapist will know how to weigh the pros and cons of cervical massage and decide whether to manipulate the area or use other techniques. He knows the dangers associated with cervical massage and is able to assess whether a person is at risk for any of these complications.

Cervical massage: what are the alternatives?

There are many other types of conservative, alternative and medical treatments besides cervical massage. For example :

  • Physical therapy (physiotherapy) : Physiotherapy can help improve range of motion, strength and mobility. This therapy includes the use of adapted and progressive exercises to relieve pain and improve function.
  • Acupuncture:  Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting needles into the skin to relieve pain
  • Aromatherapy and reflexology are other types of alternative treatments : Aromatherapy uses essential oils to improve mood and relaxation. Reflexology uses pressure points on the feet to relieve tension and pain throughout the body
  • Medical treatments include surgery and medications: Medications can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Surgery is used to correct physical deformities or remove tumors or cancerous cells
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