Traction for the cervical spine is indicated for the client with a pinched nerve in the neck because it opens up the intervertebral foramina to decompress the spinal nerves. Dr. Joe Muscolino demonstrates how to easily perform neck traction using a towel.
With any imbalanced posture (postural distortion pattern), including text neck posture, asymmetrical pathomechanical forces are placed into the tissues of the body. These forces have to have an effect. I believe it is impossible to argue that pathomechanics do not lead to dysfunction.
The neck and head do not contribute to the generation of pressure, so head and neck posture should be whatever is most comfortable and least stressful. Forward head posture, a common postural distortion imbalance pattern that occurs is caused by a flexion of the head and neck.
Being able to feel tissue tension barrier is the one most crucial aspect for a clinical orthopedic manual therapist performing deep pressure massage. From a mechanical standpoint, it is only pressure beyond the tissue tension barrier that effects therapeutic change (this is not necessarily true neurally).
When performing deep pressure massage, deep stroking massage must originate from your core by further rocking your pelvis and extending your spine forward. Short deep strokes to the neck between 1 and 2 inches (2-5 centimeters) in length allow you to preserve optimal body mechanics.
When performing deep pressure massage into the neck, maximal pressure for minimal effort is achieved if the angle of your pressure into the client is perpendicular to the contour of the neck where you are working.
For deep pressure massage to the neck, align your core with your stroke by laterally (externally) rotating your arm at the shoulder joint so that your elbow is positioned in front of your core. Now lock your elbow into your core just inside (and usually slight above) your anterior superior iliac spine.
Even perfect body mechanics cannot eliminate all physical stress to your body when doing massage. Ideal body mechanics merely minimize the stress. For this reason, when doing massage, especially deep pressure massage, it is wise to alternate which treatment hand contact you use during a session.
When performing deep pressure massage for the neck with the client supine, it is typical for the therapist to sit, centered at the head of the table. However, this does not allow for efficient body mechanics because it is difficult or impossible to position your core in line with the stroke.
The science of performing deep tissue work to the neck follows the laws of physics and, whenever possible, involves the use of body weight and the contraction of larger muscles instead of smaller ones. The art of performing deep tissue work lies in exactly how these guidelines are carried out and applied.