Say goodbye to neck pain!
This is one of the very few self-help techniques I’ve come up with that can perfectly mimic what I do in my private practice, and that means you should get an INSTANT and very powerful result (if you do it correctly).
Before I go any further, however…
LISTEN UP: DO THIS FIRST!
If if you have significant neck pain of any kind, I highly encourage you to use my pec and deltoid release BEFORE attempting this technique.
The majority of neck pain does not originate in the neck, it is usually in your chest and (front) shoulders. If you try to release your neck first you might make things worse. The reason is, often times our neck is getting “tight” because it is fighting the constant pull of our forward rotated shoulders; it’s engaged in an unwinnable battle to pull our necks back where they are supposed to be.
If this is the case and you release your neck WITHOUT releasing the chest FIRST, then you’ve just created a scenario in which your neck will be FAR more likely to be pulled forward from the chest tightness that is still present, the very thing the neck is attempting to counteract by pulling back and tightening up. Your neck may react by clamping down even harder after a few hours, which is not what we want!
For the BEST result no matter what your situation or goal: combine the pec and deltoid release with this one and your head will feel like it’s floating!
This technique can relieve or eliminate:
- Neck pain of ALL kinds
- Tension headaches and migraines (if tension related)
- Jaw and TMJ pain
- Grip issues related to a nerve blockage in the neck
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and/or nerve pain shooting down the arm
- Brachial Plexus issues
- “Text neck” or pain associated with looking down for hours every day
- Neck pain associated with forward rotated shoulders and
- forward head posture
- and…I’ve even been told by 3 clients that they believe this technique (in my office, not the lacrosse ball version) improved their EYESIGHT! I’m not sure I can substantiate that claim, BUT…the area you’re releasing with this technique does block or open a blood pathway to the ocular nerve…so ya never know!
There is a POCKET of fascia where a bunch of neck muscles meet. We are targeting the fascial JUNCTION of these muscle groups, but in particular the SCALENES where they meet the upper trapezius and levator scapulae. Look at the picture to the right and notice that the scalenes and levator scap live UNDERNEATH the upper trapezius muscle. The trap creates a SHELF, and we are targeting everything just at and UNDER that shelf.
We are NOT targeting the upper traps specifically (in isolation), which is what a lot of massage therapists focus on and what you typically ask for when you go get a massage and tell them “My shoulders are so tight so please work those!”
With this technique we will be grabbing a portion of the upper trap fascia and separating it from the scalenes and levator scap fascia, with the focus being on the scalenes.
To get the most out of this technique:
- You can use a lacrosse ball OR a soft ball for this one (I don’t recommend a tennis ball)
- You want to make sure you’re locating and PINNING the POCKET of fascia right UNDER that ridge of your upper traps where they meet the scalenes and levator scap
- Get as LOW as you need to in your lunge stance AND as far back from the pole/doorway as necessary to put significant weight into that ball to COMPRESS your fascia before stretching it
- If you get ANYTHING that feels like nerve pain, STOP IMMEDIATELY! There are a LOT of nerves in your neck. Nerve pain will feel electrical, “zingy” and might shoot down your arm. If you do hit a nerve just come off, give it a minute and try again with the ball in a different spot. The nerves will be closer to your neck so try placing the ball more toward the trap (but still UNDER it).
- Hold the ball in place with your opposite hand and REACH with the same side arm – look at mine! I am reaching ALL THE WAY THROUGH MY FINGERS, and this creates the BEST release. If anything in that system is loose and lax it will not be as effective
- Then move your head around…it won’t take much! Move your head AWAY from the ball: turn your head, tilt it up or down…whatever feels the most intense to you is good.
- If you feel nauseous or close to throwing up…you’re not alone! Just back off the weight, stand a little taller or take a quick break and come back. I often feel nauseous when I do this one, but it is SO WORTH IT to see it through!
- Find 2-4 GOOD spots in that pocket PER SIDE. You may only need to move the ball or your body a mere centimeter, so don’t be afraid to hunt around slowly and see what you find.
- Spend about 20-30 seconds per spot
- There’s no benefit to OVERDOING it in one go. Spend a few minutes a day on this one and as needed do less. Or do it every day! I, for one, could use this one every dang day.
- Ideally you would do this stretch once a day for a week if you have severe neck pain, so the results can compound and grow. Then it’s up to you based on how you feel.
- Once you release the chest ENOUGH (where it feels far less tight/tender than the neck), it’s ok to do this one WITHOUT doing the chest first. But for a week I would combine the two.
I think the reason I’m so excited to give you this one is because I need this the MOST of all the techniques I’ve invented for self-help. I look down all day working on clients, not to mention time spent on the computer and my phone. So I am intimately familiar with almost everything on that list above, and I know firsthand how much they all SUCK and affect quality of life. I am a happier person when my neck feels light and free as if it’s floating instead of crunched up, restricted and heavy.
I want to hear from you! Do you have neck pain? Did you try this in combination with the chest release? What happened, how do you feel?