Last week, Daisuke Matsuzaka , the starting pitcher of the Red Sox issued a statement that he was not able to play because of a stiff neck.
A stiff neck can affect an athlete quite seriously. Somehow when we have a stiff neck we make do- We turn our whole body to check our blind spot or toss and turn in bed constantly because we cannot get into a comfortable position.
Well the neck muscles and upper back muscles are key in being able to pitch in baseball. So when Matsuzaka stated that he was having neck pain- he was out and not able to play at all.
"I didn't throw live BP today due to stiffness in my neck. As for my schedule going forward, I'm going to see how I feel tomorrow, meet with the coaching staff and decide at that point."
His manager, Terry Francona said that Matsuzaka threw a handful of pitches before feeling pain in his neck. "It kind of spasm'd on him. "We'll go kind of day to day on it," Francona said. "We'll wait and see how he shows up tomorrow and when he feels good we'll repeat what we where going to do today. I don't whether that would be tomorrow, the next day, the next day. We'll just see how he feels."
The Sox don't seem to think this latest issue is related to sore lower back Matsuzaka had during training camp.
"I don't think it's anything besides a stiff neck ," Francona said. "I don't know that we need to be conservative as long as he's OK. But if he's not comfortable, that wouldn't be a good thing. We'll just see when it goes away."
At this point, the Red Sox are't even thinking about when Matsuzaka will be ready to pitch once the regular season starts. It has been obvious for a while now that he'll be on the disabled list to start the season.
The Red Sox are not going to take any chances with any type of neck injury. The pain is real, and it can affect the outcome of the game. Plus they don’t want Matsuzaka to get worse.
Getting a stiff neck as an athlete can definitely affect ones performance. At the high level of baseball that Matsuzaka is playing, it is a big deal. So without resorting to medications, surgery, or injections- what are his choices for getting rid of this stiff neck?
Movement- this is very important- Just because you have a stiff neck, doesn’t mean you should put on a cervical collar and prevent any movement at all.
Drink water- this is important for so many functions in the body. Water facilitates body functions- one of those is lubricating joints
Stretching out the neck- doing daily neck stretches even if only through a small range of motion, this can speed up recovery
Take a hot bath with the addition of epsom salts, and let your muscle relax. Alternately, you can also use a hot pack for 10-15 minutes on your neck and upper back area.
Chiropractic- Misalignment in the neck and upper back can be a cause for stiff neck. A chiropractor can give you an adjustment, do gentle mobilization techniques and do modalities of heat and ice in course of treatment to help you get neck pain relief.
Massage - this therapy can help in breaking up muscular adhesions and getting rid of tightness in the muscles of the neck and upper back area. Using deep kneading strokes to relax and release any areas with trapped nerves or muscle tension can make a huge difference
Acupuncture- There is an acupuncture point called located on the hand that works great for stiff neck. Specifically, it is located On the dorsum of the hand, in the depression just proximal to the second and third metacarpophalangeal joints. Also, using a technique of or helps to release muscle spasms from the neck and upper back area. Similar to a deep tissue massage, this can cause some bruising but can be very effective at getting rid of the stiff neck.