Receptor Techniques for Painful Necks

$30.00 members / $50.00 nonmembers / 2.0 credit hours / Course #M007

Researchers have determined that structures, such as ligaments, fasciae, joint capsules and intervertebral discs, are innervated and can participate in normal neuromuscular reflexes. Some of these result in pain.

Myoskeletal therapy engages a joint’s receptor system. Improvement can be seen using any micro or macro movement that puts an activating force through the neuromyoskeletal system to affect cutaneous, as well as articular, receptors. This course describes how this process may be applied for the relief of chronic neck pain through several different techniques.

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Manipulating nerve receptors in joints can be very effective in relieving spasms and pain. Soft-tissue specialists should have a basic understanding of these receptors and their relationship to neck pain and posture. This knowledge can be used to spawn new approaches to helping clients in need. When you finish this course you will be able to:

  • Define the types and role of receptors that are of greatest concern to massage therapists;
  • Describe the newly discovered role of receptors in soft tissue such as ligaments, fasciae and joint capsules;
  • Describe the three modalities for treating neck pain;
  • Define the mechanism in the muscle spindle that makes it of enormous therapeutic value in tonifying weak muscles;
  • Give examples of treatment (via receptors) for both weak and tight muscles of the shoulder as well as forward-head pain;
  • Explain the effects of joint dysfunction on neck pain;
  • List four other sites amenable to receptor techniques.


  1. Receptors
  2. Chronic Neck Pain
  3. Imbalance Technique
  4. Tight Muscle Technique
  5. Joint Dysfunction Technique
  6. Receptor Techniques for Painful Necks - mtj article pdf

Quizzes and final exam

After you read a lesson, you should complete the quiz for that lesson. Lesson quizzes do not count toward your final score but they will help you prepare for the final exam. You can take a lesson quiz as often as you like.

Questions in the final are in the form of multiple choice. You must answer at least 70% of the final exam questions correctly to pass the course. You may take the final as often as you like.

Course approval codes

MSP #68; LCEU0001118

Course expiration

Please note that you must complete each AMTA online learning course and pass the exam one year from the date of purchase. If you do not complete the course and pass the exam within one year, you will be required to re-purchase the course.


This course contains information that is proprietary. None of the material contained within this course may be used without the express written permission of AMTA unless otherwise indicated in the course. As a reminder, before practicing any new modalities or techniques, check with your state’s massage therapy regulatory authority to ensure they are within the state’s defined scope of practice for massage therapy.


Online courses are non-refundable. AMTA will not cover fees incurred from duplicate payments, insufficient funds, stopped payments or credit/debit cards over credit limits.

About the author(s)

Erik Dalton, Ph.D., is director of the Freedom From Pain Institute®in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He can be reached at: erik@erikdalton.com. This article is derived from his workshop, “Receptor Techniques for Difficult Necks … Beat Pain at Its Own Game,” which was presented at the AMTA National Convention in 2002.

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