What does my therapist do that works so well when he treats my neck?
Let's talk about going in your therapist's office. The first step is the office itself. Is it relaxing, calm, and inviting? Maybe not only in the waiting area but the treatment room too. Is your doctor or therapist friendly and open with you?
Then treatment (really the main thing that will get you better). When massaging a muscle they'll often have a massage gel that feels good so we don't get burning if you are completely skin on skin.
I used to get a periodic massage and the therapist used a gel that would heat up upon application; and that felt really good.
What I have found is that if you understand the muscles, you know how to stretch and strengthen specie ones, and you know some massage techniques, you can more quickly and easily improve someone's condition.
Oh yeah, how is the staff? I had an appointment somewhere, but they messed up the time. I want to be clear about that, it wasn't me, I even had proof. The person at the front desk was rude and said I couldn't get in the schedule book for 3 weeks later. If I didn't make that appoint over a month out, no big deal, but I did!
Okay, back to technique. One specific technique I know of, is you put pressure on a muscles trigger points, or the common area for knots, while you stretch that muscle. The muscle knots run into your hand, or pressure as you stretch it or run it across it. Basically instead of stripping out a muscle by moving you across the patient ( or your forearm, or other tool ), the muscle across your hand.
Also, if they are clear on your problem, maybe what's causing your pain, they understand when to best utilize ultrasound, heat, ice, laser, parafin baths, you name it.
With that knowledge, your therapist can recommend things to do and not do at home. I'm, of course referring to activities. I know for me, being an expert in nutrition as well, I could also give dietary guidance that might help.
My recommendation is to do everything you can to get better. For example, your physical therapist might be great with helping you do exercise in the office and at home, your Chiropractors adjustment and nutritional advice may be invaluable, and your massage therapist has such a great office and bedside manner you feel fantastic whenever you leave their office, etc...
Any of the following doctors or therapists might recommend postural and orthopedic products too. I know an osteopath who loves this neck pillow (Arc4life traction pillow) because it helps relax muscles in the neck and upper-back. Whatever the pain or problem, it often takes a combination of thing to fully get someone better and keep them that way.