How can I release tension in my neck/shoulders?

Daniel Gilbert
Daniel Gilbert answered 1/13/2020 19:37

HHP specializing in the Rolf Method of Structural Integration

Deep breathing and meditation exercises can help as they both trigger the shift of your nervous system into a parasympathetic (calm, health inducing) state. You could also try some gentle necks rolls in a half circle with your chin "scraping" along your chest as you gently reach your opposite shoulder down, breathing deeply through your nose.

Michelle Berlin
Michelle Berlin answered 1/13/2020 22:27

Yoga, Sound Therapy , Sound Healing, Thai Yoga Bodywork, Breathe work, Meditation

take a towel ( or yoga block ) and make a roll about 4 inches high, place it underneath your shoulder blades and lay on your back for five minutes. . Make sure your palms are facing up with arms stretched out in line with your hips away from your body. Take long, deep breaths and lay flat for about 5 minutes. Do this every night at the end of the day. Be mindful of text neck and looking down. To test if your tension is from poor posture , stand against the wall with the heals about an inch away, feet parallel and see if your sacrum touches , the back of your shoulders, and then very back of your head. If that is challneging try to increase week after week laying flat with your arms open from 5-10 - 15 minutes .

Dr. Mel Krug
Dr. Mel Krug answered 1/14/2020 21:36

Network Spinal and Pediatric Practitioner

Here is a great video we've created for our clients who struggle with chronic neck and shoulder pain...

Dr. Michael Weiner
Dr. Michael Weiner answered 1/14/2020 22:00


It all depends on what is causing that tension. It can be from the neck, upper back, and what I find a lot due to alteration of the biomechanics of the spine (increased mid back curve, reversed neck curve, spinal ligament instability) all seen on X-ray. If you wanted to learn more about that, feel free to email me at [email protected] Easy stretch for the upper back/neck muscles (depending on the motion, it will target specific muscles): 1. Take left hand, put it on the top right side of the head and move left ear to left shoulder 2. Turn head to the left 3. Move head down or up This will work the muscles on the right. Do the same thing to the other side for the muscles on the left. Depending on the muscle that is tight, moving the head up or down will stretch out different muscles. Also, turning your head to the right or left will stretch other muscles too. Easiest thing to do - try out all the motions and whatever stretches you out more, hold for 5 seconds, then press into your hand for 10% energy, and stretch for 5 seconds and repeat the process for 5-10 times. Do this for a minute to two minutes per side and you'll be a new person!

Alyssa Risi MS, Dipl. Ac, L.Ac
Alyssa Risi MS, Dipl. Ac, L.Ac answered 1/20/2020 20:17

Licensed Acupuncturist

I find muscle releasing in acupuncture to be effective if the tension has a muscular component. Releasing the tight fibers allow the surrounding tissues to spread out and lay flatter so you do not feel as much tightness or tension. If the tension has a stress/emotional component, acupuncture can also address the underlying cause that could be feeding into the muscle tension, giving you an integrated approach to both aspects of tension. It is also a good idea to incorporate gentle neck stretching and proper hydration, along with monitoring your posture throughout the day.

Dr. Kye Peven, ND, DSOM
Dr. Kye Peven, ND, DSOM answered 2/6/2020 22:07

Naturopathic and Chinese Medicine Doctor

Since there have already been some excellent answers on specific techniques, I want to ask what that tension is all about? Our bodies always do things for a reason. Why has yours decided to hold tension in that area? What is the tension a response to? Without knowing this deeper piece most physical techniques, though they may help temporarily, will probably not help your neck and shoulders relax more permanently.

ANTOINETTE GIBBS answered 2/11/2020 04:12

Master Massage & Bodyworker

I would suggest starting by checking your posture by looking sideways in a mirror. In today's world, cell phones, computers, sitting slouched on the couch or even overexerting in an activity you enjoy can claused muscle tension in the neck and shoulders. Look to see if you shoulder are rounded. Is your head forward of your shoulders? If so, the muscles in the neck and shoulders are bearing the weight of your head causing tension. The spine is meant to bear the weight of your head, the muscles are meant for movement. This must be corrected for any relief to occur. Try tucking your chin in and lifting your rib case while breathing normally. Don't stick you chest out...just elongate by lifting the rib cage. Tuck your chin in by moving the head directly back and not lifting the chin up. Hold for a few minutes while breathing deeply and slowly. Practice correcting your posture frequently. In the meantime, you can use a hand towel, folded it length wise two times, wet it and wring it out, leaving it a little on the moist side. Place towel in microwave for a 1-2 minutes. Remove and test the hotness on the inside of you wrist. If it a comfortable temp, then wrap the hot, moist towel around your neck and shoulders. Take long deep breaths from lower abdomen and bring the breath all the way up to your neck. Exhale slowly. Reheat towel and repeat this process a couple of times until muscles soften. Next best thing is to go in for deep tissue massage to release the chronic muscle tension that has been there for quite awhile. Muscles have memory and tend to go back to the same bad habits unless trained to know what a state of relaxation is. And it helps to address other involved muscles and improve your posture. Feel better!!

AVO answered 2/22/2020 00:52

NetworkSpinal Practitioner & Chiropractor

Tension patterns in your neck and shoulders is caused by stress that your system has been unable to release. Our bodies store emotional stress in our muscular system. As Dr. Mel Krug's video suggests, when your body becomes stressed, your posture will be affected and postural imbalances can lead to tense muscles, sore muscles, and many other health conditions. NetworkSpinal, a gentle form of chiropractic care, is designed to balance the tension in your body so that your effortlessly adopt a more relaxed posture and physiology. I hope this helps!