Basic Neck And Shoulder Self-Massages You Can Do To Heal The Aching Neck

Time to start your day and have for a big stretch when…ouch! Neck cramp!

A knot in any muscle is a nuisance, but it’s especially frustrating when the offender is lodged in your neck or upper back. (Turning your head should not induce searing pain…) And while getting a massage can work out the kink, chances are you don’t have time on your way to work to swing by the spa.

Image result for neck and shoulder pain picImage: Pinterest


Can pain in the back of shoulder come from the neck?

Regenexx: The lower neck joints (facets), when injured can refer pain to the back of the shoulder. In addition, this is also a common referral site for the lower neck nerves. Why? When we grow in our mother’s womb, these areas grow out of one another and the wiring of the neck and shoulder is still a bit mixed up together in adulthood. Hence, even though a neck nerve or joint is complaining, to the patient it feels like a shoulder problem. This phenomenon regrettably has launched many unnecessary shoulder surgeries through the years when some small incidental rotator cuff finding is seen on MRI and the patient ends up getting it surgically repaired only to continue to have pain in the same spot after surgery.

The body can be strange at times. Always remember that where it hurts, may or may not be where the damage is located. If you have pain in the back of the shoulder and treatment there is doing nothing, start asking your doctor to take a closer look at your neck, you might be very glad you did as there’s nothing like that moment when the right stuff gets injected into the right spot and you finally know you’re on the mend!

These basic neck and shoulder massages relieve tension and are easy to do by yourself. They don’t need special equipment and can be done anywhere at anytime. They include a basic neck massage and deep shoulder massage using your hands and muscle stretches to provide pressure. The skull massage and trapezius massage use a tennis ball against the floor to add extra pressure.

Image result for neck and shoulder pain picImage: SlideShare

Having someone to rub out the aches in our neck and shoulders, can be such a blissful experience, especially after a long day of hunching over your laptop. However, this usually requires a willing partner, spouse, or close enough roommate. And you can’t afford to go to a masseuse every single day. Fortunately, living alone doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy this relief yourself. Here are some DIY- massages that can leave you feeling relaxed and tension-free.

1. Basic Neck Massage

Use the hands on either side of the spine

This simple exercise can be done anywhere at anytime with minimal effort. It doesn’t need any special equipment other than your own hands.

  • Start by tilting your head back.
  • Then using your palms and fingers, squeeze the base of your neck on either side of the spine.
  • Keep your elbows tucked down to your chest as you do this.
  • Now drop your head forwards slowly. Keep squeezing as you do this.
  • Hold this stretch for at least 10 seconds.
  • Now return your head to an upright position.
  • Repeat until your neck feels relaxed.
2. Deep Shoulder Massage

Use your shoulders to stretch the muscle while adding pressure.

This stretch helps you really feel the tension leave your neck and shoulders.

  • Make sure to relax your shoulders so they are dropped and not hunched near your ears.
  • Drop your chin to your chest so that you stretch your neck.
  • Now with your right hand, place two or three fingertips on your left shoulder.
  • Move these fingertips towards the back of your neck where it meets your shoulder.
  •  Press down firmly and hold this position.
  • Start to roll your shoulder back and forth slowly.
  • Repeat until your muscles feel more relaxed.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

3. Skull Massage

Tennis balls apply the right amount of pressure

This exercise uses a simple tennis ball on the floor to provide some pressure. You can do this at the end of the day when you get home or even as part of your stretches before a workout. It’s great for headaches, jaw pain, and stiffness.

  • Start by placing a tennis ball down on the floor. You could do this on a yoga mat or directly on the floor.
  • Lie down, aligning the base of your skull with the ball.
  • Position the ball slightly off center so that it’s not directly pressing on the spine as this will be painful.
  • Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. This will give you leverage to place weight on the ball.
  • Allow it to sink into the muscle and hold this position for about 5 seconds.
  • Now turn your head slowly to the right, allowing the ball to sink into the muscle as you move.
  • Stop at any area that feels tender and pause for a few seconds.
  • Turn your head back up to face the ceiling.
  • Repeat on the other side.

4. Trapezius Massage 

 This works on the trapezius muscles.

This exercise can be done right after the skull massage to work specifically on the trapezius muscle(the muscle that runs from the back of your neck across the backs of your shoulders).

  • Lie down on the floor and line two tennis balls up right behind your shoulders on your trapezius muscles on either side of the spine.
  • Bend your knees and hips so you have some leverage for movement.
  • Move the balls up and down using your feet and hips to push down.
  • You can also make mini circular motions to massage your traps.

Now that you know how to roll out those knots, you don’t have to deal with the tension and aches so often.




Once your neck is feeling better, prevent future neck pain with this easy exercise:

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Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.


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