Neck tension can come on from a variety of reasons. Some I see more often include: 

  • From sitting too long & staring at the screen (solution: moving more!).⁣
  • As a result of an irritated nerve root in the neck that refers down the shoulder blade (that achey part between the blade & spine!) or out to the shoulder. ⁣
  • Muscles may be weak and would benefit from loading & strengthening.⁣

In any case, stretching will likely not yield long term relief, especially in the case of an irritated neck where forcing hard movements onto the spine just makes things light up more. ⁣From experience; aggressive stretching did NOT work for me when my neck was flared from a disc/nerve root situation. Once I learned it needed proper stability, load, and symptom control I felt so much better!⁣ In this short video, I share some of my favorite ways to reduce tension & activate surrounding muscles when experiencing neck pain.⁣


  1. Thoracic & chest openers on a chair
  2. Self-massage upper trap (surprise! You don’t have to crank on your neck for this relief. Also if you have irritated nerve down your arm, you can modify by bending the elbow more)⁣
  3. Self-massage middle trap⁣
  4. Wall lift off’s & retraction⁣

None of these should hurt. Aim for a tall spine with the movements and move within a pain-free range. The goal is light activation, relief, and movement! Always get assessed by a PT for a deeper look if this is an issue for you.⁣


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