Relieving Back and Neck Pain with Self Massage Therapy

Relieving Back and Neck Pain

If you frequently suffer from back and neck pain, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a massage in these areas. However, visiting a masseuse can become expensive, and it’s not always convenient because sometimes you may need a quick fix when the aching creeps up to your neck or back after a long day at work. Fortunately, you don’t need an appointment with a massage parlor or a masseuse to reap the benefits of a massage. You can relieve everyday aches and tension by yourself by doing simple DIY massage techniques. 

Release trapped nerves, increase blood circulation and start feeling better with these simple self-massage techniques. 

woman getting head wrapped with towels
  • Towel Massage

Performing a towel massage won’t place pressure on your neck and cause harm. It’s a simple self-massage technique that you can do at home, all with the help of a soft and light towel. A towel massage can help release excess pressure or tension on your neck, bringing back mobility and range of motion. Below are the steps: 

  1. Place the towel behind your neck, take its left end with your right hand, and pull it down along your chest.
  2. Take the other end of the towel using your left hand and pull it up to the left along your forehead to allow your head to turn to the left. Make several movements to release pressure. 
  3. Repeat the motion on the other side, allow your head to face right, make several movements to release tension.  
  4. Keep repeating on either side until you feel the tightness around your neck loosens. 

When performing a towel massage, ensure you’re not pulling the fabric forcefully and avoid making any sharp movements as it can lead to injuries. 

girl stretching in a yoga pose with arms
  • Squeezing the Side Muscles

Pressing the side muscles of your neck can help relieve both neck and back pain. To do this, you need to: 

  1. Sit on a chair with your back straight and place your palms on the side of your neck. 
  2. While holding the side of your neck, tilt your head back slightly and let it gently drop to the left.
  3. With your head on the left, squeeze the left part of your back muscles until you feel it starts to loosen. 
  4. Repeat for the other side, so bring your head back slightly and gently drop it to the right.
  5. With your head on the right, place enough pressure on the right side of your back muscles until you feel it starts to feel less tight. 

Don’t apply too much pressure when squeezing either side of the neck/back muscles, as it can cause even more pain and other adverse side effects. 

squeezing neck of woman
  • Back of the Neck Muscle Massage

This self-massage technique can help alleviate discomfort on your neck quickly, but keep in mind to keep the pressure as light as you can because too much can be harmful. Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Place your left hand on the muscle behind your left ear, and with two fingers, apply gentle pressure to that area.
  2. While pressing your left back neck muscles, slowly turn your head to the right and make sure that your fingers don’t move. 
  3. Repeat the motion on the other side and place your right hand on the muscle behind your right ear, applying slight pressure.
  4. Repeat the movements until the pain subsides for both sides. 

If you still feel discomfort after doing this self-massage technique, you can add slight pressure and repeat the steps. Another way is to massage the area with persistent pain with a gentle circular motion, releasing tension and increasing blood flow. 

woman holding her head
  • Suboccipital Self Massage

Tightness around the suboccipital muscles (a group of muscles situated underneath the occipital bone in the neck) can create headaches, neck pain, dizziness, or nausea. To achieve this, here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Feel around until you find the ‘soft area,’ which is usually on the base of your skull. 
  2. When you find the soft area, place both of your hands on it, and apply gentle pressure on the suboccipital muscles on both sides of your neck. 
  3. While doing that, lean your head back slightly and keep applying pressure in and up with your fingers.
  4. Move your chin to your chest slowly and as you lower your head, move your fingers outward, bringing both hands apart and continue applying pressure. 
  5. Repeat the cycle until you feel your neck has loosened entirely. 

Doing this self-massage can separate and open the suboccipital muscles in your neck, releasing tension and reducing tightness. 

chiro adjusting womans shoulders
  • Upper Back Massage 

The muscles in your upper back can result in discomfort on your neck, and this self-massage technique involves using a tennis ball. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Stand against a wall with your face facing outside and place a tennis ball between the top part of your right shoulder and spine. 
  2. Lean back a bit to let the wall hold the ball against the upper part of your right shoulder.
  3. Start gently rotating your arm to let the ball massage the area to ease neck and back pain
  4. Repeat the movement for the left shoulder. 
  5. Keep doing it on either side until your neck and upper back pain disappears. 

If you don’t have the time to stand against a wall, you can always gently roll the tennis ball on the sore areas of your upper back. 

chiro adjusting lower back of man
  • Lower Back Massage

Lower back pain is the most common discomfort that most adults experience and a great way to alleviate it is by using a tennis ball. To do this, you need to do: 

  1. Lie your back on a floor or any flat surface with your legs straight out, then put a tennis ball on the left corner near your hips where your spine and pelvis meet. 
  2. Start rolling horizontally on the tennis ball out toward your hips and back a couple of times.
  3. Begin rolling vertically on the ball from your pelvis to your rib cage to your back several times. 
  4. Repeat these movements until the pain subsides. 

Never place the tennis ball directly on your spine as it can cause more damage. 

The Efficiency of Self-Massage Therapy 

According to several studies, neck massages can provide relief for neck and back pain, improving range of motion and mobility, but the comfort it gives tends to be temporary. Although the benefits of self-massage may not be permanent, it can still play an essential role in managing sudden and painful flare-ups, improving your overall quality of life without having to resort to medication. 

Alternative Treatments for Neck and Back Pain 

chiro giving back massage to patient

If you’re not too keen on massaging yourself whenever you experience painful flare-ups, you can always try different all-natural alternatives. But before you try doing anything, consult with your doctor to ensure it won’t cause any complications over time. 

Here are the different natural alternative treatments you can do:

  • Exercise 

When you perform workouts that improve your core strength, such as yoga and pilates, you improve your balance, posture while reducing overall stress. These are all good things to have, helping you deal or prevent sore neck and back pain, especially if you’re dealing with discomfort resulting from the tightening of muscles or physical effects of stress. 

  • Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is a natural remedy that uses water as its treatment method. It can involve soaking your whole body in warm water in a Jacuzzi or placing warm compresses and ice packs on the affected areas. If you have recently acquired the injury, it’s best to put an ice pack on the affected part to reduce inflammation while relieving pain. However, if you’re experiencing discomfort due to tense muscles, a warm soak or hot compress is the best choice. 

  • Acupuncture

The most studied and practiced acupuncture method involves inserting thin needles either manually or electrically placed into the skin. Several studies have proven that this treatment method helps those experiencing chronic pain on their back or neck, providing moderate improvements regarding pain. It can help by increasing blood flow and decreasing inflammation, but it can be costly as patients usually need to attend 8 to 12 sessions. 

  • Chiropractic Treatment

Millions of individuals turn to professional chiropractors to relieve neck and back pain. Though it’s an alternative treatment, numerous insurers cover the treatments. Chiropractors are healthcare professionals that follow a holistic approach to help and don’t prescribe medication or perform surgery. Instead, they practice various chiropractic approaches, focusing on performing adjustments to align the spine correctly. 

Chiropractors adjust the patient’s neck using their hands or special chiropractic tools to bring back your mobility, range of motion, increase muscle movement, provide relief, and improve your overall quality of life. 

If you’re looking for a reliable chiropractic clinic with a team of licensed and capable chiropractors, O’Dell Family Chiropractic is the best choice. O’Dell strives to provide complete care for all their patients by providing an array of chiropractic services, relieving pain, improving one’s overall health, and well being. 

They offer the standard chiropractic care that works wonders on neck pain, back pain, and shoulder pain by improving range of motion, correcting balance to increase resistance to diseases, bringing back normal nerve function, and providing optimal wellness. O’Dell Family Chiropractic also offers specialty chiropractic care such as pregnancy chiropractic care, spinal decompression, and treating auto accident injuries. 

Choose the best care for yourself and go with O’Dell, improving your overall health and well-being.



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O’Dell Family Chiropractic

Primary Location
853 Ridge Rd
Webster, NY 14580
(585) 671-9210

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144 Metro Park
Rochester, NY 14623 US
(585) 671-9210