I started having issues (constant dull pain & discomfort) with the right side of my neck and shoulder starting from the base of my neck hairline and going all the way to my shoulder. I think it was stemming from the fact that my shoulders and neck are always being pulled forward due to trying to grow those pectoral muscles for so long! I found out later that it’s a common occurrence in men so I thought this post would be beneficial to those suffering from the same condition.
The discomfort wasn’t acute but it was constant and was even bothering me just sitting at my desk at work. After it finally got to the point where I couldn’t even lift weights much less train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I finally capitulated and went to see my chiropractor.
I know that personally I’m really resistant to going to get medical help but sometimes it’s just not worth going through all that pain and discomfort just because you want to save a few bucks.
The Chiropractor did one single thing that gave me a lot of extended relief.
I believe he called it an active release. Regardless of what is was called; I’m going to do my best to give an accurate description of what he did.
After placing a moist heating pad on the affected area, the chiropractor started off by pressing the muscles near the shoulder blades with the tips of both his hands; I believe just to release a few minor trigger points before getting to the actual pain area.
He then told me to lay on my back and rubbed some bio freeze (which I purchased on Amazon) along the muscles that he would be releasing.
He pushed my head to the side so that my neck muscles were taunt then at the same time pressed very firmly into the base of my neck hairline and followed it all the way down into my shoulders (Supraspinatus muscle). Continuous pressure all the way down is important! He did this several times essentially releasing that muscle from all the tension that was causing me so much discomfort. (denoted by the green arrow in the image below)
Now unless you have someone that you trust to do this for you it’s tough to repeat the exact feeling when you are by yourself. This is what I have been doing when I’m attempting to recreate this technique by myself.
I stand in front of the mirror with the affected side of the arm hanging down, then with my other hand I dab a bit of the biofreeze (you can use other products like cryoderm or maybe even icyhot, but bio freeze works the best for me and it’s what my chiropractor uses. You only need a little dab each time so a small bottle should last you quite a while) to reach over to the other side and press from the base of my neck to my shoulders while pulling my head to the other side. It’s not 100% effective as when the chiropractor does it but it definitely helps.
Sometimes I use my bodybackbuddy after the moist heating pad to press hard into a few of the bigger trigger points before I do this technique. I tried to use the bodybackbuddy to do the actual technique but I found it to be too awkward.
This technique actually provides the most immediate relief and is relatively simple to do.
Clench your teeth together, draw your neck back so that your neck is aligned with your spine and not pulled forward. Take both hands and put them on your chin while pushing straight back. Whenever I do this I have immediate relief and I am able to turn my head side to side without a hitch.
If your neck is in really bad shape, just stick with that routine and do it often throughout the day; up to every hour if necessary. Do it at your desk at work, do it in the car, do it before practice, just do it!
As your neck gets better push your neck straight back then up at the end of the movement to get an even better stretch.
Whenever possible I try to use my moist heating pad to warm and loosen my muscles to get the most out of these techniques but you don’t need to, especially with the 2nd technique!
With these two techniques I was able to get back in the gym to start lifting within a week and I was able to train Jiu Jitsu within less than two weeks!
I hope to add some video’s soon to demonstrate these two simple techniques to make it a little clearer if there is enough interest. 🙂
The products I use to find relief in this post: