Self-Massage: Neck

Staring at your phone and computer screen all day? Do you notice your neck starts to lean forward more and more and the back of your neck getting more tired and sore? Self-massaging your neck will begin to help ease your neck tension.


How to self-massage the levator scapula.

Non-Lotion

  • Begin by finding the superior angle of the scapula
  • Next, draw a “plus” sign at the attachment to break down any adhesions. This is known as the ” Insertion, Origin” Technique
  • You can continue that up to the base of the neck, close to the vertebrae
  • Glide your fingers down towards the scapula, as you stretch your neck by pointing your nose to the opposite arm pit
  • Stop and compress and area when you reach a tender point and continue once it dissipates

Pressure: Light – medium

Time: 2 – 5 minutes

Area: Levator Scapula, posterior neck


Lotion

  • Apply lotion at the nape of your neck and glide your fingers down towards the superior angle of the scapula
  • Strip the muscle up and down a few times
  • Knead the muscle with finger tips or knuckles
  • You can stretch your levator scapula muscle as you do any of these techniques

Pressure: Medium – deep

Time: 5 minutes

Area: Levator scapula, posterior neck


How to self-massage the sternocleidomastoid.

Non-lotion

  • Locate the SCM by bending your ear to the same side and turn your chin towards the midline, the muscle will pop out
  • From here, using a pincer grip, grip the muscle
  • Begin to squeeze the muscle down its entire length towards the clavicle
  • Trace out a plus sign at the attachment of the mastoid process to do an origin and insertion technique

Pressure: Medium

Time: 2 – 3 minutes

Area: SCM, lateral neck


Lotion

  • Locate the muscle the same way you did when there was no lotion
  • Strip down the muscle towards the clavicle
  • Knead down the muscle towards the clavicle
  • Stop and compress the muscle where there are areas of tenderness, move when the pain dissipates

Pressure: Light- medium

Time: 2 minutes

Area: SCM, lateral neck


How to self-massage the Scalene.

Non-lotion

  • Locate the scalene by bringing your fingers posterior to the SCM attachment, and feeling the transverse processes of the cervical spine
  • Next, glide your fingers down toward the clavicle, aiming for the first rib
  • As you do this, stretch your neck, by bringing your ear to the opposite shoulder

Pressure: Light

Time: 2 minutes

Area: Anterior and middle scalene, lateral and anterior neck


Lotion

  • Locate the scalene similar to before by finding the transverse processes of the cervical spine
  • Apply lotion and strip down the muscle towards the first rib
  • As you glide your fingers down, stretch your neck
  • Knead down the muscle

Pressure: Medium

Time: 2- 5 minutes

Area: Anterior and middle scalene, lateral and anterior neck


How to self-massage the sub occipitals.

Non-lotion

  • Find a ball, and while lying on your back, place it at the nape of your neck, on either side of the spine
  • Begin to do chin tucks. This will re-create the pin and stretch technique
  • Repeat on other side of spine

Pressure: Medium

Time: 2- 5 minutes

Area: Sub occipitals

Equipment: Tennis ball


Disclaimer: These self-massage tips are for educational purposes only. If you feel safe and comfortable to try them on yourself, go ahead. If you are experiencing any pain that you would rate a 6/10 on a pain scale while self-massaging, please stop and seek advice. My email is listed on the home page if you have any questions or concerns.

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