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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I get rid of tight shoulders and neck?

    I have knots in my neck, shoulders and upper back. Its really painful and uncomfortable.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2




    Shalin Patel


    After completing my Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2006, I worked for a year prior to commencing my 2 years post graduate studies. I graduated with … View Profile

    Having a massage or hands-on therapy may help in addressing the ‘tight’ muscles around your neck and shoulders. Many therapists also use fine needles to treat the trigger points, known as Dry Needling. 

    However, you must try to find the factors leading to tight muscles. Is it your posture or the ergonomic set-up at your work or home? Are you stressed or dont do regular exercises and stretching? Addressing these issues will ensure a more long term solution and help manage your problem.

  • 2




    Dr Roi Cheng


    Graduating with distinctions from the prestigious 5 years Bachelors and Masters Chiropractic program at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Dr Roi Cheng took a … View Profile

    I agree with the answer above. Whilst massage therapy and dry needling are effective for relieving tight muscles in the short term, the muscular tightness tends to return if the underlying cause is not addressed! Finding out the cause and treating it should be the main focus.

    There are many things that may be contributing to your tight muscles. These may include:

    Diet - Water, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium are important for healthy muscular contraction. Particularly, patients lacking magnesium in their diet tend to suffer from tight muscles. 

    Stress - “Carrying stress in your shoulders” is not an uncommon thing. Chronic stress can lead to increased tone in your muscles.

    Posture (sitting, standing) - If your head is sitting too far forward from your shoulders (forward head posture), Your body has to contract your shoulder and neck muscles to keep it back and upright. Constant contraction of the muscles lead to tightness, soreness and fatigue.

    I tend to find that posture plays a huge role in tight shoulders and necks, and addressing this by treating the underlying structural causes can have a profound impact on the tone of muscles in the region. A chiropractor or physiotherapist will be able to help you out.

    Hope this helps.


  • 1


    Dana Rader

    Exercise Physiologist

    Dana Rader is the owner operator of GYROTONIC® Melbourne. As an exercise physiologist she is passionate about the health benefits of exercise. Dana has been … View Profile

    Yes I agree you need to find the reason for tightness in your neck and shoulders. What is your occupation, and are you sitting all day at a desk that is not ergonomic or set up properly?  Your work situation should be evaluated. 

    Having an exercise program designed for you by an exercise physiologist to correct your posture by releasing and stretching the tight muscles and strengthening the weak muscles would be helpful. For example your upper trapezius muscles may be tight and lower trapezius muscles weak.   

    Movement methods such as Gyrotonic, Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, could all help as well.


  • Lou Baliotis

    HealthShare Member

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  • Sandra McFaul


    Do you suffer from chronic lower back pain or neck pain? Based in SYDNEY, Sandra is 1 of ONLY 15 Physiotherapists in Australia with ADVANCED … View Profile

    Tight neck and shoulders are often caused by poor sitting posture.  Try sitting abit straighter in your chair or while driving.  If this doesn't alleviate all your probelm, see a McKenzie trained physio who will teach you 1 or 2 specific exercises to relieve the pain and teach you how to stop it from coming back.  GOOGLE "McKenzie Method of Physiotherapy"  Ensure the physio has credentialed or Diplomaed training in the McKenzie Method

  • Rebecca Urie

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Rebecca works hard to create a supportive and safe space for her clients. She really enjoys the challenge of understanding the unique set of struggles, … View Profile

    I would agree with Dr.Roi Cheng that 'carrying stress' in your shoulders is problem for a lot us.

    Do you notice your neck and shoulders are tighter when you are more mentally and emotionally tense?

    If so, some simple things you might like to try are:

    1.Deep breathing. Try to find some time in your day to pause and take some slow deep breaths. Focusing on completely filling and emptying your lungs, imagining you are breathing into your shoulders or into your belly, or counting as you breathe (so as you breathe in count to yourself 1, 2, 3, 4, pause, then as you breathe out, count out 1, 2, 3, 4) are some ways to do this. You might find it easier to concentrate if you close your eyes.

    2. Including more things in your daily routine that help you relax or feel good.

    3. Try to use your energy wisely: Are there things you are worrying about that perhaps you don't need to worry about so much? For example, worrying about things which are outside our control is a very common cause of unnesessary mental, emotional and physical tension.

    Hope this helps!



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