We all store stress in various places around our bodies. Most of us store it in places like the neck and shoulders, the low back, and also in the belly. All very complicated parts of the body, and in times of acute pain, they are often challenging areas to assess and target the root of the pain.

In my case, I used to train with heavy weights, a lot. Some might say I overtrained. Some might say I created some imbalances in strength, especially from front to back. The outcome of which was pain which manifested itself in chronic neck tension. I also worked at a computer, which locked my upper back long. One day my neck seized. My neck seized in a way where my left shoulder was being drawn up towards my left ear and I couldn’t turn my head at all. Even when my neck was able to recenter itself, days later and with heavy anti-inflammatory prescription meds that were eating away at my stomach, I still held tension all through my upper back and shoulders.

I couldn’t figure out which muscles were responsible. I didn’t find the doctors particularly helpful either. But I did find that my yoga practice helped. So I committed to a daily practice. For years I worked at it, but still, during very stressful times I would notice how painful checking my blindspots, looking over my shoulder, when driving would be. And all I could think was, “How with all of the yoga I’m doing, 5 years later, is my neck still tight?”

When I was introduced to Yoga Tune Up® and we did the trapezius work with the YTU Therapy Balls (in the video below) I finally found the muscle that was inhibiting my neck’s mobility. This simple technique, when added to my daily practice was able to free up the remnants of years of overtraining and the storage of stress in my shoulders. You can get more self massage for neck pain techniques like it on the 10 Minute Quick Fix for the Neck and Upper Back to learn how to massage neck pain away.

Discover more neck pain solutions.

Read about the importance of good posture.

Read about the perils of forward head posture.

Watch our Therapy Ball massage video on YouTube.

Todd Lavictoire

My approach to both my personal practice and my yoga classes has always been one that includes joyfulness and playfulness. Yoga Tune Up® has provided me with a modality to help yogis of all stripes: young and old, experienced and new to the practice, work through some of the tension stored in their tissue. As Jill says: "Helping them live better in their bodies."

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Jenn Austin

The “10 Minute Quick Fix for the Neck and Upper Back” is on the menu in my house tonight. I have just finished report cards and feel heavily gargoyled in my upper body form. This concept of a community blog really is a great idea, especially for those who do not have a background in anatomy and movement!

Elaine Jackson

Thank you Todd. This post is a great reminder for me that we often think about neck pain as a problem in the cervical spine area and forget the the “functional neck” goes much lower, i.e. we need to work on the “upper back.” Language can really trip up my thinking processes sometimes.