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A muscle called your levator scapulae (click link to see a picture) is usually involved. It attaches to the top of your neck and to the tip of your shoulder blade…..and it usually restricts the turning of your head in the "no" motion.
If you have just shoulder joint pain or just pain in your neck, please click on the links in the menu bar to the left for those specific issues. What follows will tend help those issues as well, but not as well as the pages specifically dedicated to those issues.
This short introductory video is a great place to start. It will give you a good overview of how to get the most out of this website and help you get the best possible results from the videos below.
Click directly to any pain relief video on this page:
Intro, Video 1, Video 2, Video 3 .
Please visit the techniques page now, if you haven't already. The techniques are extremely simple, but being familiar with them will vastly improve the effectiveness of what we do below.
On the homepage I describe…in detail…the 3 Simple Steps and the 4 Basic Facts about your body that make it possible for you to provide your own joint pain relief. It's good to know why what you're about to do actually works, but it's not required, so I'll leave that decision to you.
Lastly, if you believe your pain is due solely to stress, you may want to try this neck and shoulder pain quick fix first. Just promise to come back here if it doesn't do the trick!
Feeling Lucky!? You might want to scroll down and do Step 3A first, and then do everything else. If I could only give you one technique to do for your neck and shoulder pain, it would be Step 3A.
Neck and shoulder pain relief can be achieved quite rapidly for 95% of people. You just need someone to show you how to do the right things to set your body free. We'll be using hand-on-hand technique and press-hold-move technique.
Here's what you're going to do:
A. Upper Neck Release -
Take the tips of your fingers of your dominant hand and place them on the back of your neck just below where your neck and skull come together. If you are right handed, then your right hand is your dominant hand…If you are left handed, that is your dominant hand.
Now curve your fingers a little bit, and take the palm of your other hand and place it over your dominant hand. We call this the hand-on-hand technique - it allows you to apply pressure without tiring out your hands. You will simply press on the tissue with your finger tips, and press on your finger tips with your other hand. It's amazing how much easier it is to work on yourself using the "hand on hand" technique.
Press the tips of your fingers into the tissue in this area around the top of your neck and the bottom of your skull and notice any tender areas. Some people find it easier to lie on the floor when they do this, so the weight of your head can help you press into the tissue. Remember, healthy tissue is not tender when you press on it, so you are trying to find all the unhealthy (tight) tissue that needs to be released. Simply put……tender tissue is unhealthy tissue.
Now pick one of the tender spots, one at a time, and press on the tissue with your fingertips, while your other hand pressing on your finger tips to add more pressure. As you do this, move your head in a "yes" motion for a few nods, a "No" motion for a few turns. Keep pressing on the tender spots and moving your head in the way where you feel the tenderness until in releases. We call this the press-hold-move technique.
Take your time. Be patient. After a minute or two take a break, and notice the amount of shoulder and neck pain relief this one technique provides. You can also add the press-pull-release technique to any particualurly stubborn spots if you desire.
B. Lower Neck Release -
Using the same hand-on-hand techniquedescribed above now press on the tissue all the way down the rest of the back of your neck and notice any tender spots. Make sure to press on the tissue an inch or two away from your vertebrae,and also the tissue next to your vertebrae, since all those muscle bellies are important to begin to release.
Now, using the Hand-On-Hand technique, do the press-hold-move technique with the same "yes" and "no" head motions as before, press on any tight tissue using the method while moving your head. Do this for a minute or two…pressing on different spots for a few seconds or more before taking a break.
C. Neck/Shoulder/Back Intersection Release
Take your hand and hang it over the area where your neck, shoulder, and upper back all come together. Press your fingertips into the muscle tissue in the area from the very top of your shoulder down about 3 inches or so down onto your upper back, and 4 to 5 inches out from your neck. Notice any tender spots.
Now press on one tender spot at a time while you do the press-hold-move technique by rotating your arm and shoulder so you feel the tissue move under your fingertips.
Do this technique on both sides of your body. Notice how effective this technique was for future reference. Repeat Step 1, one more times before moving on to Step 2. You may not get all the tender spots to release, but do the best you can before moving on the Step 2.
Notice the amount of neck and shoulder pain relief this Step 1 provides for future reference.
You can also add the press-pull-release technique to any particualurly stubborn spots if you desire.
Sometimes releasing one tight muscle that is restricting one nerve can immediately relieve your neck and shoulder pain. We'll be using the tennis-ball-press technique and the press-hold-move technique.
Here's what you're going to do:
A. Upper Spine -
Using the tennis-ball-press technique position a tennis ball or lacrosse ball in the space between your shoulder blade and your spine (rhomboid muscle, erector spinae muscles) while lying on the floor or leaning against the wall.
Now, using the press-hold-move technique move your arm along the floor or wall as you put pressure on any tender spots. Work one tender spot for a bit, move to another for a bit, then return to the spots you've already worked on and you'll find they've let go a bit while you were working on other spots.
Basically, just use the tennis ball to press on the tissue next to your spine from the very bottom of your neck to your mid-back pressing on any tender spots while you move your arm.
Do this on BOTH sides of your upper back, especially on the rhomboid muscle between your spine and shoulder blade.
Repeat this Step 2, two to three more times before moving on to Step 3. You may not get them all to release, but do the best you can before moving on the Step 3.
Again, notice the amount of neck and shoulder pain relief this one technique provides for future reference.
Depending on your particular issue any one of these techniques could provide the neck and shoulder pain relief you're seeking……so make sure and do them all. Any muscle that attaches to your collar bone (clavicle) or shoulder blade (scapula) can be causing your neck and shoulder pain. Like the rigging on a sailboat, one muscle being too tight can throw off the whole balance and cause your neck and shoulder pain. Pain relief most often occurs by working on areas other than where you are currently experiencing the pain. Remember……where it hurts, is most often not why it hurts when it comes to chronic structural pain.
Here's what you're going to do:
A. Side of Shoulder Blade -
This one technique can often instantly provide neck and shoulder pain relief. Take your hand and reach it across your body so your finger tips can feel the very outer edge of your shoulder blade. Now come forward just a bit so your finger tips are touching the muscles on the front edge of your shoulder blade (teres major and minor, and subscapularis muscles).
Now, using the press-hold-move technique press on any tender spots in these muscles, while you gently flap your arm being worked on like a wing.
You can also lie on your side to access these muscles. With your good shoulder on the floor, press into the muscles on the side of your shoulder blade from this position. Do whatever works best for you. Some much prefer this method, others much prefer the first one...
Take your time with this technique. These two muscle groups are responsible for much of the shoulder pain that comes into my practice every week. Release these and that may be all you need to do to make your shoulder pain vanish.
Notice how much neck and shoulder pain relief this technique creates for future reference.
B. Side of Rib Cage -
Now we will work on what I call, "the forgotten shoulder girdle muscle." It attaches to the bottom of your shoulder blade and your rib cage (the serratus anterior muscle). If it's too tight it can pull too much on the shoulder blade and cause shoulder joint pain.
With the hand of your injured shoulder, reach across your chest and grab the top of your other shoulder……so your injured arm is hanging relaxed against your chest. Now take your free hand and reach under your hanging arm all the way over to the side of your chest, just below your arm pit.
Feel these muscles that sit on top of your ribs and notice any tender spots until they become less tender. Use the press-pull-release technique to release any tender spots in this area.
You can also do this lying on your side on the floor with your non-injured shoulder against the floor. Do both techniques and see which you prefer.
Take your time and work on this muscle for at least a couple of minutes, especially if it is tender.
Make note of how much shoulder and neck pain relief this technique provided.
You can also do the press-hold-move technique by pressing on the tissue and raising and lower your arm. It can only help!
C.Underside of Collarbone -
Take the tips of your fingers on the hand opposite from the side you're working on and place them on the muscle tissue on the underside of your collarbone (subclavius, pectoralis major and minor muscles).
Now, we'll do the hand-on-hand technique. Curve your fingers on your hand a little bit, and take the palm of your other hand and place it over your dominant hand. We call this the "hand on hand" technique - it allows you to apply pressure without tiring out your hands. You will simply press on the tissue with your finger tips, and press on your finger tips with the palm of your other hand. It's amazing how much easier it is to work on yourself using the "hand on hand" technique.
Use your fingertips to press along the entire length of the underside of your collarbone on all the soft tissue (all the way across until you run into your shoulder muscles) and notice any tender spots.
Now we'll add the press-pull-release technique press, pull, and release...... press, pull and release (press then pull for about 1 full second and then release) continuously with your finger tips using the "hand on hand" method into the tender spots until they become less tender.
Notice how much pain relief this technique creates for future reference.
Once again, You can also do the press-hold-move technique by pressing on the tissue and raising and lower your arm. It can only help!
D. Upper Back -
We'll start with the tennis-ball-press technique. Lie on the floor with a tennis ball under your shoulder blade or put a tennis ball in a sock and lean against the wall with the tennis ball pressed between your shoulder blade and the wall (infraspinatus muscle).
And now we'll add the press-hold-move technique. Slide your elbow along the floor or wall while the tennis ball is placed under any tender spots.
Repeat this entire Step 3 one more time to get as much release as you can.
Notice the amount of neck and shoulder pain relief Step 3 provides for future reference.
Are you still experiencing some neck and shoulder pain?
Which muscles are still tender (that means they are tight!) and could use some more work?
Go back and repeat those techniques that seem to need a few more rounds. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results you get now that you've released other muscles that may prevented them letting go.
Investigate a bit and you'll eventually find which techniques work best for you to provide the best neck and shoulder pain relief. Then you'll be able to fix yourself whenever you desire!
For more detail on some of these techniques, try this Stiff Neck Pain Treatment page - the primary techniques you need to relieve your "stiff neck."
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