5 Fast Fixes for Neck And Shoulder Pain: From a Massage Therapist


Sometimes I think that our modern lives are designed to cause neck and shoulder pain.  At least 75% of my clients specifically ask for extra work on their neck and shoulders.  Some of the causes or contributors to the literal pain in our neck are:

  • Driving: because we’re all hunched a little forward with hands on the wheel
  • Texting/Cell Phone Viewing (forward neck posture)
  • Sitting at a Desk
  • Lack of Movement: because we all need to move our shoulders and cervical spine through their full range of motion, as they are designed to do, or else we’ll get stiff and weakened muscles which can lead to frozen shoulder, deterioration, and pain
  • Sleeping in a position that is out of natural alignment
  • Shoveling Snow (or other repetitive, straining effort)

See what I mean?  It’s stuff we do all the time.  And then, for some of us, it’s where we naturally hold our tension.  It seems to me that our daily routines leave all of us with tightness, pain, and range of motion problems here.  Today, I thought I’d share some tips on working out these “knots” and relieving your pain.



  1. Yoga- yoga is my #1 suggestion for anyone who wants to feel better. Here is a short video of chair yoga for the neck and upper back. In case you are thinking that you’re too tight/too heavy/too old or whatever excuse you come up with, I promise, there is some type of yoga you can do!  The library has DVDs.  Chair yoga is a good place to start.  I know that when you’re in pain, the last thing you want to do is move, but if your doctor says that you have the go-ahead to get some exercise, to go to physical therapy, to try stretching/strengthening, then yoga- which is literally moving with breath- can make a big difference in how you feel, how you move, and your quality of life.
  2. Ice/Heat- If you just injured yourself, ice is the way to go.  If you’re just stiff and tight, heat will bring more circulation and loosen things up.  A heated neck and shoulder pad may become your new favorite thing.  (This one is electric.  This one is microwavable or can be put in the freezer, and it costs less.)
  3. Tennis Ball Magic- put 2 tennis balls into a tube sock and tie the end up.  Lie on the floor and place this under your neck/at the base of your skull, between your shoulder blades.  Move around gently, turning and finding just the spot.
  4. Blanket Roll- take a throw blanket, yoga blanket, or large towel and fold it, probably into quarters or basically a 3 foot long rectangle.  Roll it up tightly.  Placing it on the floor under your spine, lengthwise, then lie down on it.  Now that the blanket roll is completely supporting your spine (and you can allow your head to drop off the roll if that’s comfortable), your legs can either be bent or straight, whichever feels better.  Spread your arms out to the sides and turn your palms up.  Breath deeply and rest here allowing your chest muscles to relax and heart space to open.  Alternately, you can lie in bed, on your back, near the edge and allow your shoulder and arm to hang over the edge.  Just make sure to switch position to stretch out the other side of your chest so that you’re evenly stretched.
  5. Massage- just 30 minutes is a great option if you want to get to those spots that you just can’t quite get to on your own.  Schedule a 30 or 60 minutes session and let your LMT know you just want to focus on neck and shoulders.  You won’t even have to take off all your clothes. Personally, I really love these sessions and enjoy knowing that I’m helping to really improve my clients’ lives by releasing the neck/shoulder muscles.  Even getting a short chair massage can make all the difference in your day. neck-and-shoulder-massage

Be well my friends.  Take good, loving care of your body.  It’s the only one you’ve got.


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