The Most Important Exercise For Neck Pain and Shoulder Pain

My main mission is to keep you from hurting yourself when you move.

Problem is…"corrupted" movement patterns get into your brain and they become habits that continually damage your tissue…day in and day out.

Today you'll learn one of the most commonly "corrupted" patterns that leads to neck and shoulder tension, headaches (even migraines), fatigue, and just overall grumpiness.

Enjoy and let me know in the comments what other movement patterns you seem to have trouble with and I'll use it as fodder for upcoming episodes, OK?

Dr. Steve

P.S. I'm really interested in what movements you feel are most troublesome for you so be sure to watch and leave comment so I can help.



  1. Definitely going to work on this. I have chronic pain in the areas you describe and am at a desk all day. For a future segment, will you talk about the right way to get out of an office chair? I'm up and down a fair amount and pulled something a few months ago. It has healed, but I'm always wary of doing it again.

  2. Dr Steve
    Thx for this one! I need to be reminded of the scapula kiss!
    It does feel a bit different, maybe even a little pain because of me not sitting correctly and all the years of doing massage and rolling my shoulders forward.
    Dropping your shoulders and pulling your scapulas in , are two totally different movements.

    • @Peg…yes, good efficient, functional arm raising requires more mobility in the ball and socket joint of your shoulder and more length in the fascial sling under your arm and into your flanks / lattisumus.

  3. Steve,
    I agree with everything you say.  A couple of things you said really made some of the pieces fall into place for me.
    One thing that really helped me get my shoulders back and down was to work the fascia (TPs) on my stomach, above, below, and beside my belly button.
    When you get these points to release the shoulder magically move into the correct position.  These are the only TPs I have every every felt "release."  I used a soft ball against the wall.
    I never had anyone work these points and found them on my own.  I think people are touchy about having their abs touch but it's the key to a lot of stuff.

  4. Wow! Dr. Steve, you really know me.  I have a history of shoulder pain.  I saw a massage therapist last month, she said I was carrying my head forward, she suggested the "log" roll that you had used previously.  I was able to tell her I already knew about it. (Thanks to you!)  I hope when I go this month she will see improvemnt as I am trying to follow your exercises.  THANK YOU!

  5. Thanks Dr. Steve for the well done video. I'm noticing how ingrained my shoulder shrug is. I have lots of work to do!


  7. I so agree with you about most of us having ingrained unhealthy, inefficient movement patterns (that we acquire from daily life, habits, and circumstances influencing our posture negatively).   We really do have to retrain our minds, muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments, and most crucially our habits… forming new healthy habits of more effective, less damaging 'strategic' movements, transitions, and routines….  I have just become certified as a yoga instructor because I found that yoga was the closest thing to physical therapy (relieving pain and increasing mobility) that I could keep up, and the most 'balancing' low impact form of exercise I have experienced.  I've been dealing with painful back conditions for the last decade.  Since adding a regular yoga routine  I have become so much more aware of my body, it's strengths and weaknesses, imbalances, abilities and hindrances… also proper therapeutic positions of shoulders, neck, pelvic girdle, etc. emphasized in every posture throughout my practice.  It is also very apparent that my posture has improved as I have progressed in my practice, gaining strength, mobility, flexibility, and also stress release while 're-training' my body to move more conscientiously in more healthy, balanced patterns.  I have come a long way in the last year… And I hope to continue finding natural solutions to the problems I experience.  Thank you for emphasizing the ultimate and exclusive importance of proper, healthy, balanced movement- it really is the key to wellness, where our society's medical/drug approach only masks problems that must be dealt with at the source.

  8. Great reminder.  But I would like to learn about chairs and proper sitting when working on computers.  How do I determine the proper "chair" and form?
    Also, shoes – I am on my feet teaching.  I wear suits/business attire daily.  What types of shoes can I wear that are comfortable and help with posture?

  9. I always have this tension in my neck and have trouble doing exercises due to the muscles, etc getting tight and causing headaches.  I definitely will be using this method for help but are there others?  Is there a  link where I can see videos for other exercises for this area?
    Thank you so much for a great web site and I'm learning a lot about my body both what I can and can't do but also knowing the correct exercises and doing them will help over time I"m sure.

  10. @Donna…Here's a couple of previous episodes that should help regarding workstations, etc.

    Regarding shoes…be able to spread your toes and avoid heels or at least high heels (please).  Zero drop or minimalist are two terms to use when searching.  Do not have a "go to" pair yet for women's dress shoes.  Will have to get Rebecca on that.

  11. Thanks for the exercise.  I noticed as I went past the mirror this morning that I am already beginning to get the old people shuffle.  It loosens up after about half an hour, but it was a bit of a shock.
    It was interesting that although most of my stress is on my lower back and hips after sitting at the computer for several hours a day, I felt quite a lot of relief after trying your shoulder exercises, and I intend to do these every day.  
    I would also like to alter the way I sit.  I find that I suddenly realize I'm tensed up and my legs go numb.  One problem I have is having very short legs (I'm 5ft. 0) and on most chairs, my feet don't touch the ground.  I use a box to rest my feet on at home when sitting at the computer, but that's not always possible when away from home.
    I am so grateful for your website – its giving me a lot of insight into problems that nobody else has been able to fix for the last 2 years.

  12. A hammer taken to your shoulders……Dr. Steve, would you say that is why my shoulder tissue is so sensitive now that I can't even carry a medium loaded purse on my shoulder anymore even for a brief outing?  Have I damaged all that tissue from years of not packing my shoulders down?

  13. Tissue can definitely become overloaded if joints are not working with good balance and alignment.  The good news is you can rewire movement patterns and remodel tissue and pain levels over time.

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