After a particularly stressful week, I woke up with a tonsilitis-like sore throat. And yet, I wasn’t sick, nor did I have allergies. Palpating my neck looking for swollen glands, I found the front of my neck was tender to the touch. My discomfort was coming from the outside, not the inside, of my body. Did you know that tight anterior neck muscles can present as a sore throat?

A little time with Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls on each mastoid process (that bony bump behind your earlobe) and massaging my sternocleidomastoid from its clavicular attachment on up and I was good as new. And the added bonus was that I had stimulated my lymph system (lots of glands in the area) as well as stretched out my eustacean tubes (my husband hopes I’ll be able to hear him better now).

The next time your throat is feeling a little scratchy and you’re pretty sure it’s not a cold or allergy, try some YTU to massage your sore throat before reaching for the OTC meds. Try the self massage techniques shown below (and also on the 5 Minute Quick Fix for Neck video) to learn how to rub out your neck for natural sore throat relief.

Read how Jill lost her voice and the technique she used to get it back.

Watch our sore throat massage video on YouTube.

Christine Jablonski

I believe most people who end up in the fitness profession are trying to heal themselves. Fifteen years ago I sought out SPIN to rehabilitate a full knee reconstruction. Ten years ago I started Pilates to help me recover from a horseback riding accident. More recently, as still-young age and old injuries caught up with me, I began a restorative and Kripalu yoga practice. In every instance, with every discipline, I've experienced a moment of “ahhh....I want to make everyone feel this good.” And so began my path toward fitness studio ownership where I could keep my classes small and focused on my client's journeys from injury, through healing, and on to strength. In addition to figuring out how my clients and I could feel even better (as well as look better in our jeans), curiosity about human biomechanics led me to study with Helena Collins of Life in Synergy, Sadie Nardini of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, and of course, Jill Miller. Combing the knowledge from these tremendous teachers with my strong Pilates background has enabled me to create exceptionally effective programs for my clients, who range from joint replacement patients needing post-physical therapy help to the “uninjured” wanting stronger, better aligned bodies so they can experience life to the fullest.

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I tried this technique a few minutes ago and I feel so much better, thank you!

Corena Purcell

This is remarkable! I love how I’m learning so much during this process!

Lynne S

I’ve had chronic problems with my Eustachian tubes for many years to the point doctors have suggested having tubes put in. Not something generally done on a +50 year old, I will definitely give this a try.

throat hurts when I swallow

My brother recommended I would possibly like this web site. He was once totally right. This publish actually made my day. You cann’t believe simply how so much time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

Sylvia Baedorf Kassis

When I feel like I’m starting to get sick, it always first manifests as a sore throat. In the winter, I frequently suffer from a sore throat that rarely actually develops into anything else, but I always fear the worst and start medicating This is an awesome technique to try to help alleviate the symptoms by using massage and stimulating the lymph system. I’m sure I’ll be using this technique a lot in the coming months!

Darcy B

Great information and movement! I’m going to do this with my Restorative class as part of a nice warm-up! Plus I can throw around some of my nicely developed YTU Embodied Anatomy knowledge when I point out the mastoid process and the sternocleidomastoid.


That is amazing, I wish I had known from years of jumping to antibiotics and getting even sicker from over the counter drugs. I used to get sore throats all of the time, but now I can pay more attention to a tightened anterior neck muscles.

Ellice Janus

This is very interesting, I have tried before a warm compress to soothe the muscles of my neck when the symptoms of a sore throat arise and that often helps, but now I will be able to try this massage technique with the balls. Thanks for the tip!


Thanks for the alternative holistic approach to massaging SCM to facilitate healing. Every time I feel symptoms particularly @ flu season I reach for over counter meds. I’ll try your suggestion

Kat Burke

A few times last week I woke up with a sore throat even though I wasn’t sick and was really curious as to what it was from. Next time I notice it I will definitely try this! I must be sleeping in some contorted way. This is probably effecting my quality of sleep as well. I never like to immediately reach for a pill when something feels awry, this sounds like an excellent solution!

Brian W

This is cool. I tried this over the weekend after waking up with a sore throat, and it provided very effective relief. I wonder if the pressure on the lymph that creates some illness might be compounded by neck muscular tension. Might it be possible that a muscle laden with adhesions begins to affect the other organs and tissues in the area. How can cellular processes be effective with to much mechanical stress. I guess it shows the importance of the musculoskeletal system in relation to other systems of the body.


I suffer from TMJ and this exercise alleviated an extraordinary amount of my discomfort. I have severe tightness in the area behind my ear and down the front of my neck…. this really helped and actually reduced some inflammation.

JoAnne Firth

Very nice! Always a plus to seek alternative methods first before reaching for meds to fix an ailment. And since most all “dis- ease” begins with stress in the body, massage is always a very beneficial preventative.


That is a great tip! I think especially if you are tender, a warmed up towel would be great to heat up the area as well as provide padding if the ball pressure is too intense on such a sensitive area.


That’s great advise. I did not realize that sternocleidomastoid could get tight. I assumed I was getting sick or worn down.


Thanks. I often wake with a sore throat when I haven’t slept enough. this is a quick way to relieve that.

Amanda Z

Great! I will definately use this the next time my throat feels inflamed. I know that there are a lot of lymph nodes in the neck that would use some massage so this makes great sense. Sometimes I do this stretch in a warm shower as the water flows down the neck.


interesting! i’ve never thought of that but now will try it out! thanks for sharing the experience!