Self-Massage for Neck and Shoulder Pain

massage red

We all have those days — long periods sitting in front of the computer, your neck and shoulders are tight and sore. You could ask your partner for a little massage but maybe they’re too busy or tired to massage your neck and shoulders or maybe their neck, shoulders are too tight too. Maybe their hands are not strong enough after the first minute to even make a dent and you need much more than that. Maybe you’re in between partners and it’s a week before your next massage appointment.

You need relief now — What to do?

Don’t despair, we have a few tricks for simple self-massage techniques that won’t tax your arms further and won’t make your hands hurt from excess rubbing. These techniques use your body’s own resistance, with you using the body’s own weight and mobility to release tightened muscle groups and resulting in truly beneficial self-massage.

For example, you can use your hands to hold, stabilize and support your muscles, while you move your neck, shoulders and arms to cause massage to happen without wearing your hands out.


Here are a few easy to do self-massage techniques:

Self-Massage Technique #1

  • Place your palm on the back on your neck, with the thumb parallel to the other fingers.
  • Gently squeeze and hold your neck.
  • Then slowly turn your head in the opposite direction, away from your arm.
  • Slowly come back to center.
  • Release and relax, squeeze again and turn your head in the opposite direction.
  • Repeat 5 to 7 times each side.

TIP: Don’t strain your hand, only pinch as much as you are comfortable, the work is done by turning your head while holding. 

Self-Massage Technique #2

  • Make a fist and place the knuckles of index and middle fingers right below your ear.
  • Keep your arm close to your body.
  • Slowly turn your head in the opposite direction.
  • Then come back to center.
  • Repeat 5 to 7 times each side.

TIP: Remember, you don’t need to push hard, it will be the movement of your head, away from your hand, that will massage your neck.

Self-Massage Technique #3

  • Place your hand,  just below your collar bone.
  • Then slide it over, next to your shoulder joint pressing firmly but gently (no need to push hard).
  • In a smooth, slow motion that resembles pulling a tool from a tool belt, lift your arm up and over, pointing away from yourself.
  • Repeat 5 to 7 times, each side.

TIP: As you move your arm, remember to hold your fingers in the same place. 

hand crampWith these 3 simple techniques you will have massaged the back and the side of your neck and head, as well as your pectoral muscles, helping to alleviate the tension in your arms.

Keep in mind, that you can experiment with different movements, trying different directions and different body parts, as you stabilize the areas, holding them and playing with slow, concentrated movements until you discover more and more ways to relieve your own stress. If you need more ideas or assistance — just ask us to demonstrate some exercises, customized for your difficult areas, at your next visit.

You can also use these techniques to help your friends and family, without overexerting your hands, all while providing assistance and relief for a loved one.  Just position your hands or knuckles on a muscle and have her/him move their neck, shoulder, arm, whatever, until they feel relief (roughly 5 to 7 reps each side).

We hope these moves help you feel better and that you enjoy the freedom of providing it for yourself, right when you need it most.



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.