Ahhh! My Neck

by Ross Ashcraft

Do you suffer from reoccurring neck pain in the mornings?  Massage Therapists constantly hear about their client’s neck pain.  They hear stories like, “I woke up this morning and couldn’t move my neck.  I must have slept wrong.”  I truly hope that if this ever happens to you that you can get yourself to a massage therapist and let them work it out.  Nothing is more irritating than walking around for several days not being able to look around.  It’s amazing how much we take for granted simple actions until they are gone. 

Below I’d like to share a few tips on how to prevent many neck pains if you suffer from a chronic stiffness or reoccurring headaches.   This technique will also help if your neck is already in agony.  It won’t be a substitute for a massage therapist but my experience has shown that it will drastically decrease the pain and get your neck back to normal faster.  I’ll reveal the technique as if the left side of your neck is hurting.  It can be applied to any portion of the neck. 

 1.  Firmly rub the left side of your neck from the skull all the way to the shoulder.

2.  Press your finger tips firmly but not painfully into the muscles on the left side of your neck.

3.  Then maintain the pressure while moving your neck from side to side or ear to shoulder about 6 times

4.  Finally stretch the muscles on the left side by taking you right ear all the way to your right shoulder

5.  Repeat as needed or move to another portion of the neck.

ChallengeTry this out on yourself on two separate days.  Let us know the changes you feel.  The ideal time to try this is right before you got to bed…try doing it while you brush your teeth 🙂

160 thoughts on “Ahhh! My Neck”

  1. Had great testimonial of this type of massage. I was working for Dr. Terry Tatum, had a client who was 24, I asked her, how long has your neck been this way, “Oh since I was 17” That is too long. Rediculously too long. I worked on her for 4 weeks, once a week. Moist heat, cold, alternate. Worked the Sternocleidomastoid alot. 4th week she walks in and her comment was, I am feeling much better, after all the comments before were, “so much pain” I can relate, with 10 screws in my neck. Dr. Tatum commented ” you are an amazing woman” NO, I was taught AMAZING things and am still learning.

  2. Creative abilities to help when working are important for me as a therpaist. The neck is a specific body part and always needs innovation for something different.

  3. This technique actually works. I do it everytime I have a stiff neck. I love the picture of the dog. It looks just like my baby Rusty. 😀

  4. Nice, but very vague. Not much detail on the muscle or muscle groups being treated or specific locations of such.

  5. I have had problems with my neck for the past 19 years now since I had my car accident. Now that I am older and not have taken better care of myself I completely understand all the differant things my mother told me to do and not to do as I got older. My body is falling apart as we speak but I can change the course some now. I have tried these stretches for the past couple weeks some times I have little pain and sometimes more than I can stand.

  6. So this really does work! I love a good neck stretch. I always seem to find myself sleeping in the most akward postions….but I have also noticed that since I have done this my neck isnt nearly as tight after I am done stretching.

  7. This one is simple and fast as well, I used this on myself for the last to days and on my Mom. She reports it was very easy for her to pick up and remember, as well as to use ,not much time involved at all. It takes her about half the day to normally move her head in an almost normal range, with this self treatment she said she was moving around in a matter of minutes and did not get a headache so far in the last two days. For me after working in the gardens I sometimes have a stiff neck worked like a charm, not any pain or stop or just turning the whole body to look at something. This is one that makes me want to go over to folks who are really appearing to have pains in the neck while you are waiting in an office or at the store and tell them they can get some fast relief by following these fast and easy steps.

  8. Funny how it works. I woke up yesterday and once again I didn’t have my head screwed on straight. I was afraid I was going to have to find a chiropractor, but it’s a holiday weekend! I did a routine similar to this along with the resisted neck stretches. Yea! My head is back were it needs to be. 🙂 Thanks for the good stuff. Keep it coming.

  9. Unfortanatly I don’t have neck pain but I’m sure this little tip help if anyone in my family or if any client I have comes complaining of neck pain. I will sure to use this thanks Ross!!!! 🙂

  10. Since the end of last year I have experienced neck pain/stiffness. I began following a routine similair to this one since listening to the great advice of our beloved Alpha teacher, Sharon. This neck stretch really is very helpful and easy to do. Even if you don’t think it will work in the beginning, you will be surprised how well it really works after a few days of repeated use.

  11. Oh this is fabulous!!! I have been sleeping wrong for a few days and this is really nice!!! I will definately pass this one on too!!!

  12. Oh this one is fantastic!!! I have been having neck issues for a few days and aaaahhhhh!!!! I will pass this one on too!!!

  13. Every once in awhile I wake up with neck pain from sleeping funny. I haven’t recently but I will definitely try this next time. If is a good stretch just to do in general though. Feels great!

  14. I dont normally have neck pain. but even just trying this, WOW. thats all I can say. My neck feels better than it did before, even with out having neck pain.

  15. This works tromindisly. I wake you to this a lot in the morning. Thanks for giving this information to help me be able to move and feel a lot better.

  16. I find that this technique really works. It’s amazing what stretching the neck can really do. Sharon has shown this to us in class and I practice it almost everyday. It’s very helpful. Thanks.

  17. I don’t usually have much neck pain but I tried this anyway, and I could still tell a difference after I had done it! I also had my husband try this and he said it worked great!

  18. I used to always wake up with awful headaches, and suffer from occassional migraines due to a skull fracture a few years back, and I am definetly adding these to the list of helpful tips I’ve recieved from Sharon. Waking up like that is the worst. She helped so much with small stretches and just sleeping with a smaller pillow under my neck at night!

  19. This is an awesome technique! I have had a sore neck for a few days, tried it two days ago, and today my neck feels great! I will turn to this trick when I my neck is sore, thanks!

  20. I had some tender spots whn I did this exercise. This is nothing compared to the stuff we are having to do in class though, but it is a good self massage.

  21. I have tried this for almost a week now. It helped out a lot very quickly. So much so that I think I will continue doing it because it does not take long and is really simple.

  22. I didn’t really have neck issues until I had my son. I tried everything I could before I began massage classes. This really does help. I now know how to alleviate the issues. And, now I can try this on my mother, she would love this.

  23. I love this technique because it’s quick and easy. I’ve tried this technique the past few days and have a lot less tension in my neck. I will be certain to tell all my friends about this.

  24. I really enjoyed this information that Ross shared with us. When i was in my computer literacy class Ross came in and gave us a demonstration on how to do this and the next day I woke up with a really bad neck pain from homework, computer work, etc. This procedure worked wonders in helping to releive my pain. Thank you Ross

  25. My boyfriend and I have doing this for the past few nights and it has rally aided in our cricks that we get in the morning even though we both sleep in completely different positions, have different types of pillows, and different areas of neck pain.

  26. DIY Broke Neck Repair

    Thank you for the information. Every now and again I wake up with a stiff neck. In the past I would do neck stretches. Of course it would help.But now with more gained knowledge from our fearless leader, a broke neck will know longer be an issue (aka stiff neck.)

  27. OK so without even knowing it I have been doing this same things forever!!! It just feels awesome when you have so much tension built up and need to just loosen up.

  28. I love a good neck stretch. I find myself sleeping in a lot of awkward positions and have noticed that since doing these stretches my neck isn’t nearly as tight.
    Also great for clients since most of the time they will have a neck or shoulder pain.

  29. This is one of those stretches that is so easy and takes no time at all but so incredibly helpful. My husband and I both have neck issues (probably because of the way we sleep) but we do this simple technique almost every night before bed.It is makes the biggest difference in the morning! 🙂

  30. I was told to do these same stretches after a car accident 2 years ago. I did them constantly and the neck pain had subsided to some degree, but now the pain is back. I know they work, everyone who has neck pain should at least try them out.

  31. This technique works great! I have lost a lot of tension in my neck and what makes this technique even better is that it’s very simple and easy to do. This reminds me of a shorter version of what we did today in class on our clients.

  32. Ross showed me this technique shortly after I started at CCC because I was having tremendous neck pain. I do this every night now before bed…IT WORKS WONDERS!!! Thanks AGAIN Ross :))

  33. I do something like this when my neck is starting to hurt from me laying wrong on it. And it helps some what. I did this the other day when I was watching t.v. and was laying on my side with my head resting on my hand. Not only did my neck hurt but so did my hand. So I would rub it then do some cross fiber friction, and would lay the other way to help stretch it back out. Once I had done this I would do range of motion to make sure I worked out the kinks in my neck.

  34. Tried this just now and am still a wee bit sore from not getting my neck worked on this morning;) I will try it again tonight and let you know!

  35. I have headaches frequently, especially after coming home from work when I had also been to school that day. Often I will rub my neck casually because of the pain but this routing will be much more beneficial. Ross did a similar routine on my neck and it was fantastic! Thanks!

  36. I was having neck pain yesterday morning and after having my neck worked on it was extremely sore but then when I woke up this morning it was almost completely pain free!! 🙂

  37. This is kind of like what we did in class today. I just tried it and my neck was a little more loose than the other side when I was done. I would like to do this when I wake up to get my neck all stretched and relaxed before I get my day started

  38. I forgot about this technique, but i will definitely use it later on myself because my neck is killing me.

  39. I am constantly trying to stretch my neck. I never want it to get to the point where I feel pain. But when I do feel pain I like to dig into the muscle and put my neck through range of motion and stretches. This always makes it feel better. I am constantly telling my friends and family to stretch!

  40. I had few chronic pain in my teen days. Woke up with stiff neck, and I had no idea what was wrong. My mom applied heat and I went to bed that night next day I was more relaxed. This technique I would definitely recommend and try out for myself.

  41. I have been recently having neck pains and just doing this once while reading it felt really good. I will begin to do this more often.

  42. These exercises feel amazing! I naturally have neck shoulder stiffness anyway and this seems to help loosen up that area.

  43. I’ve been doing this technique for a while and it works. What it has been helping me are my little notes that I put everywhere that says stretch. I don’t have one on my bathroom mirror, but that’s a great idea. I will try while brushing my teeth. It might work. I will let you know. Thanks

  44. I have found that since I started massage, I am stretching more. When I have a pain in my neck, I do use some of these techniques to try to get the pain to go away or at least lessen. It does work.

  45. I don’t really have neck pain problems unless I do some seldom heavy lifting that require my neck to be put out of place for a while. Anyhow I will still try the exercises.

  46. This exercise helps tremendously if I remember to do it every night. I do it most nights before I go to bed. Having changed my normal sleeping positions in supplement, I don’t worry so much about neck problems anymore.

  47. I believe it is always good to have a stretch you can teach your clients to do at home that they can do themselves until their next visit.

  48. Really like these stretches going to try them daily and see how my neck feels. Will pass on to others I know with neck issues.

  49. I really like the neck stretches and do these as part of my daily stretch. It helps keep my neck loose as i carry a lot of tension in my neck and upper back.

  50. This is an easy way to relax your neck and get a good stretch in there. After the second time I noticed that my neck was significantly more flexible.

  51. When I moved my ear to my shoulder I got a nice pop in my neck and that felt great. Doing this before bed will help out a lot in the mornings.

  52. Good techniques. I tried it today (as I have some left neck pain going on) and it seems to have helped some. I’m excited to try it again tonight and hopefully the discomfort will continue to decrease. Great and easy homework to give clients! Thanks!

  53. Nice!! Just doing this in class (on just one side) I could feel a difference. I must do the other side. I am going to give this a shot. Might help with the morning stiffness.

  54. Love this! I wake up with pains in my neck quite often. I also have friends that call me with this problem and they ask me to fix them. This treatment is similar to what I have recommended them to do on themselves. 🙂

  55. I stretch periodically but am afraid to do too much since i have hurt my neck from sitting in the wrong position , a position I have sat in for most of my life (foot under the rear). I don’t let anyone work on my neck because it just causes me too much discomfort and takes me days to get back where i was. Not sure if this would work. Perhaps i could alternate with a chiropractor once a week and do these stretches everyday. i will definitely use this technique on my clients and coworkers and family and friends.. I love helping and healing the people I love and care about. Thank you Ross !

  56. This is definitely great homework to send home a client with if they have chronic neck pain. The client will feel like you care about them, they’ll hurt less often, and not as much… so it’s win win win! Thanks Ross 🙂

  57. Great Article, I often wake up with headaches. I never knew why I just thought that my pillows weren’t comfortable enough. I will try this technique at home!

  58. The side to side neck massage felt really good. The rubbing of the side muscles felt ok but I dont have a whole lot of neck problems!

  59. I don’t wake up with neck pain usually. My friend for many years however does, I emailed her this tip of relief for the neck pain in the mornings, seeing how she isn’t going to kick her 2 dogs out of the bed. She says it has made an difference the last few mornings.5hl8

  60. This is a great technique it is uncomfortable at first but the results will surprise you. I will definitely be teaching this to my wife as she can not sleep still through the night. Like clockwork, in the morning her neck hurts and no matter how perfect my massage is it does not seem to help at all.

  61. I have had extreme neck pain for several years off and on. I also notice that most of my clients have pain and tenderness in the upper back and shoulders. When I do this after applying heat, they and their body is very responsive. Thanks Ross.

  62. i love this! feels so good on my neck even tho i don’t wake up with a lot of neck pain (that i notice at least). i think maybe i have been in pain so constantly that my body has learned to ignore the lesser pains so now i don’t even notice them.

  63. I had those ghost headache muscles sneak up on me last night so I did this stretch because I couldn’t go to bed! Great advice!:D

  64. I worked on my boyfriends neck then other night for his neck rotation and found that all of his problems was in his Rhomboids it was not actually in his neck.

  65. OK, as I get older, my bedtime routine already involves a lot of stretching, lotions and potions, etc, so something has to really be good to be added to the list of activities. This is really good. I added some resistance to the stretches…wonderful.

  66. Wow I’m going to use this! I love the self help tools. I see now that I need to do this right before I go to bed. I think i will see a good change in my neck.

  67. Wow!! I could really feel a difference after using these techniques. I could really feel the tenderness in my neck and the stretching was fantastic. Thanks for the blog

  68. A lot of people have neck pain. It is very helpful to know how to take good care of your neck and different neck massages and stretches for it.

  69. I do have a lot of pain in my neck and it does not feel pleasant at all. But I do stretch before I go to bed and I’ve felt a great improvement.

  70. I can appreciate some good neck stretches. I experience a lot of upper back and neck pain. When I wake up in the mornings I usually take something for my head because 9/10 I can feel a headache coming on. But with neck stretches and the techniques we learned this week in class, with the stripping and crossfiber I have no neck stiffness at all. When I use these stretches I can feel tightness in my scalenes, and fully intend to utilize these stretches while my neck is loose and feeling good. Perhaps this will help me keep a handle on the problem.

  71. It great to always have someone around for getting rid of neck pain by giving you a massage, but that’s not always the case. So is to put a cold pack on your neck for 10 mins or so. This will always help when you have sore or stiff muscles.

  72. I have woken up with headaches a lot lately. They usually aren’t that severe, but they do bother me and I think this stretching exercise might be good for me to try. I would try it before and after bed. Anxious to see if it makes any difference.

  73. I’m always sleeping in weird curled up positions, we also performed this exercise yesterday,and I found myself doing it today at the computer. 🙂 Awesome!

  74. I need to make time for these stretches in the morning but I do them at night and noticed I sleep more soundly.

  75. I’m glad this exercise on the left side and not on the right. I will be using this to help my neck in the future.

  76. I love neck stretches, it helps with not just pain, but also makes me feel less stiff! Thanks for sharing.

  77. Do to strongly disliking feel stiff, every time I wake with a crook, I continue to do stretches until that body part feels as if I had never had a problem in the first place. Save me agony for not only the rest of the day but the following day.

  78. Doing this stretch i bet will help make the day a little better! i need to try this in order to have less tension in my neck. I’m also going to give it a shot at night.

  79. This was a great stretching routine. I usually have neck aches in the morning and for the past couple of days this has really helped.

  80. This is a good technique that I can show my army friend who is always complaining about his neck. So I can teach him this and see how it works for him with in some time to see if it helps him any.

  81. The neck techniques have been very helpful,I was able to show my mom some of them to help her neck.I am going to utilize these stretches on my own neck especially if I slept wrong.

  82. I will definitely try this technique because I tend to be tight in the neck area. This seems like a great way to relieve some of the tension. Thank you.

  83. i have had pain in my neck from sleeping funny.i find it works best to do some self stretching and massage before bed. it helps the muscles relax and rest during sleep instead of holding on to the same positions they were in throughout the day.

  84. this is another good homework assignment for my clients with neck pain. I tried it myself and it did seem to relive some tension in my neck.

  85. I don’t wake up with neck pain, but I sure can find it at nighttime after a long day, especially if I am reading. I had an Anterior Cervical Diskectomy on levels C-6/C-7 after my drill sergeant stepped on my neck and head during a combat exercise, so I have to be vigilant about my cervical area each and every day.. definitely going to take the extra time to do this at night before I go to bed.

  86. I feel a loosening on the side that was stretched. I will have to keep this in mind when my neck gets stiff or I have a headache. I used to get headaches weekly that would nag and last 2-3 days at a time. My chiropractor treated me for FHP and now the HAs occur about monthly. Perhaps this exercise could spare me a doctor’s visit!

  87. I do variations of these exercises multiple time a day every day. My upper back tends to get stuff and stretching out my neck and shoulders makes a huge difference.

  88. Thank You for that great article, I get a lot of headaches and they are caused from my neck being out of alignment these stretching tips will help out a lot.

  89. I tried doing this while brushing my teeth and it got messy… So after I brushed my teeth I tried it again and it is very nice. I always sleep wrong, I have tried to correct my sleep posture but it just doesnt work but this is a great technique for when it does catch up to me.

  90. My mom and dad sometimes wake up with stiff necks, I will definitely show them this to try and show them how to get some relief. I liked this technique, it helps a lot to stretch and relax my neck muscles.

  91. i have clients come in all of the time with neck pain, not only is this good for me to know but will be good homework for my clients.

  92. My neck hurts like this all the time because I sleep with my neck in weird positions a lot. A lot of the times I sleep on 2 to 3 pillows on my side…. you can see how that would make me hurt in the mornings. So I have had to do these stretches multiple times throughout the day. It really helps though!

  93. This is a great technique since I always sleep wrong and I wake up in pain so as soon as I wake up I can so this stretch and feel ten thousand times better.

  94. I dont have neck issues its good information on how to fix that but ill probably just use this information for clients and how they should work out there neck

  95. Sleeping wrong is never fun.

    Usually I try to switch sides I sleep on throughout the night and straighten my spine periodically to avoid any pain in the morning.

    When that neck is aching I usually use a hot pad to get some looseness before I do the compression and range of motion seems to make the task less arduous.

  96. Great info! I sometimes wake up with pains in the neck and I usually try to work on it. These tips look like they could help me

  97. I tried this on my aunt one morning when she complained at the breakfast table about her neck hurting. We ran through it twice and after that her eyes lit up and she was so excited she didn’t have to deal with that pain all day.

  98. Just tried it on myself, I must say I feel a difference. The neck is where a lot of people have problems. Before I would always hear, you are sleeping with the wrong pillow or try to change your position when you sleep. Can’t really say either of them worked but this technique will be added to my morning routine.

  99. I was vey surprised with the results on just one try, love that you can feel better with just simple techniques.

  100. I liked this blog a lot. I have tried some of this techniques they do work and I will keep on doing them.

  101. Another great technique to give a try! Thank you Ross for all these great ideas! Very helpful.

  102. The stretching has helped me. I tend to lay with extra pillows so my neck tends to be a bit out of whack.

  103. This are great tips to give and to have in mind for yourself. Next time I have a stiff neck I will be sure to try this

  104. Great way to help our clients manage these pains in between massage sessions. Filing this one away.

  105. This is perfect homework for a client. Simple yet effective, I need to do this before I go to bed because I think I did sleep funny last night

  106. I know a good neck stretch always feels great so sometimes I do this without even thinking whether there is pain to not. Great article and every useful tips because there is always someone who slept wrong and will need our help.

  107. My neck is always very stiff in the morning. I do stretches in the morning but I have never thought to do them before I go to bed. I can’t wait to try this.

  108. I like this technique. Love how it is simple and it can help with my neck. I am going to try it tonight

  109. I tried this while doing homework and it really did help. Its amazing what these small yet quick techniques can do to relieve simple neck pain. Im quite sure ill use it again before the night is over.

  110. This blag has some great tips for client homework. i know so many people who suffer from neck pain. cant wait to try this out!

  111. When I stretch Dave’s neck at night, he doesn’t wake up with neck pain in the mornings. Then we continue our routine of coffee and scones. Another great blog by Ross.

  112. Oh this is fabulous!!! I have been sleeping wrong for a few days and this is really nice!!! I will definitely text this info on to my friend Michelle.

  113. Self massage is great tool to know. I do these techniques all the time to help with my neck pain. Sitting in front of a computer all day is very strenuous on the body.

  114. I love self massage for neck pain. This is a good way to relieve pain there a bed or even sitting down at your desk. This was very nice tool to use as well because I work from home and need suck relief at the computer as well as in the bed before sleep.