A Simple Trick For Sore And Stiff Necks

Thrive-JeffBell_Close_Cropped_Headshot_10-29-2013From time to time most of us will experience a stiff or sore neck.  For many years I have relied on a simple trick to attain both instant relief and long term benefits, as well.  I learned this from my first chiropractic and applied kinesiology instructor.

Before I share this simple but highly effective trick with you, I want to cover some basic principles that apply to stiff and sore necks:

As with any health significant problem, focusing on the symptom and ignoring the root cause leads to trouble down the road.  It is similar to putting a piece of masking tape over a warning light on the dashboard of your car.  And even if a “natural solution” that does not involve pharmaceuticals, or other potentially harmful substances, is used to deal with the symptom, one is still suppressing or covering the symptom and not addressing the root cause.

A little later in this post I will list some of the more common root causes for stiff or sore necks.  If you experience a stiff or sore neck on a chronic basis it will pay for you to be sure and study that part of this post.

That said, in many cases, there are good reasons to deal with the immediate symptoms of a health problem, especially as long as you make a commitment to also work with the  root cause.  Not only does reducing the symptoms often improve comfort and quality of life, but in many cases the symptoms themselves can lead to other problems.

In the case of stiff and sore necks, because so much of our bodies’ circulation and neurology runs through our necks, chronic neck stiffness and soreness can lead to other serious health problems.  These problems, left unresolved can affect nearly every other part of our bodies.

If you suffer from a chronic stiff or sore neck you could try chiropractic treatments.  That can help and in some cases, especially in the hands of a skilled practitioner, may even resolve the problem completely.  But this approach generally requires multiple visits over time, which can become expensive and may be inconvenient.

In both my own personal experience and that acquired while working with my clients, pharmaceuticals and the like will not do the job.  They may relieve the immediate symptoms, but you can expect the pain to return, in most cases sooner rather than later.  Further, many of these substances are harmful to your overall health.  For example, most pain medications, even over-the-counter ones, have the potential to cause serious liver damage very quickly, even with moderate use.  And again, they do not address the root cause.

So, what to do?  The following is a simple method that just about anyone can use to relieve a stiff or sore neck:

What you will need:  You will need 2 tennis balls.  They can be new or used, and need not be expensive or fancy ones.  You will need a good quality, strong athletic or work sock.  Again, it can be new or used.  You do not need a pair of socks – we are just going to use one for this.






Now let’s assemble our sophisticated medical device:  (For any medical regulatory agencies who read this that was an attempt at humor.  I am not illegally promoting medical devices to the public.)

1.  Take the two tennis balls and put them into the sock.  Push them all the way into the toe of the sock, as far as they will go.








2.  Tie a loose, simple overhand knot on the leg side of the sock.














3.  Work the knot down as close to the tennis balls as you can get it.

4.  Tighten the knot so that it holds both tennis balls securely and all of the way into the toe section of the sock.






Now that we havge assembled our highly sophisticated medical device it is time to use it to releive that stiff or sore neck.  Ready?  Here we go:

1.  Lie down on a bed, flat on your back.  Your head should be lying directly on the bed without a pillow under it.

This may be slightly uncomfortable but it will only be this way for a  moment or two.

2.  To relieve any tension on your lower back, place a pillow or bolster under the backs or your knees so that they are comfortably supported in a moderately bent position.

3.  Place the sock with the two tennis balls tied into it under the back of your neck.  It should be positioned so that there is a tennis ball on either side of your neck.

4.  Relax and let the weight of your head gently press the back of your neck against the tennis balls.










5.  Focus on your breathing, relax and just let gravity do the work for you.  10 minutes is about right for a session.

That’s all there is to it!  If you do this every morning and every night whenever you have a stiff or sore neck, you will find that it provides immediate relief.  What’s more, over time it will subtly adjust the structural alignment of your neck and improve your overall health.  If this seems too simple to be effective, don’t be fooled.  It actually can be remarkably effective.

For increased relief you might consider adding one or more of the following measures:

  • Rub some “Tiger Balm” salve or “Traumed” homeopathic cream on the back of your neck before lying on the tennis balls.
  • Try a hot shower before lying on the tennis balls.
  • Put on some soothing music while you are lying on the tennis balls.
  • Try the measure described in detail in my article: “How I Fix Up Sore Joints”.  If you do not have a copy of this article, please feel free to e-mail me and ask for a free copy.

What else to consider:  Near the beginning of this post I harped on a bit about not just dealing with symptoms, but also paying attention to underlying causes.  Now that you know how to get some immediate relief, let’s return to that subject.

Let us consider some common causes for chronic sore and stiff necks:

An obvious one is emotional stress or tension.  For this you might consider “Emotional Freedom Technique” or “EFT”, sometimes also simply referred to as “Tapping”.  Of course, some of us may benefit from more conventional therapy and similar approaches to reducing emotional stress and “dis-ease”.  I see no reason not to use both if you are able.  There are plenty of good books, as well as on-line resources for learning how to use EFT if you do not already know how.  In the last several years, the Ortner Family has hosted several “World Tapping Summits” and many of the presentations can be found on YouTube and on other sites.  Please let me know if you have trouble finding the materials.

QiGong is another great resource for reducing emotional stress and for improving overall health.  I highly recommend Deborah Davis’ excellent site for this.  She has a terrific QiGong instructional video that you can use to learn the basics of QiGong.  The results can be amazing, even within a relatively short period of time.   I have a link to her site at the bottom of this post.

Another common cause of chronic neck stiffness and soreness can be one or more mineral deficiencies.  The most common ones causing this problem will be calcium and magnesium.  But please don’t run out and buy calcium and magnesium supplements.  Unless you know how to find ones that are truly bioavailable and appropriate for your body, you will be wasting your time and money at best, and you may actually harm your health.

If you suspect or know that you are deficient in calcium or magnesium, here are links to learn what to do about it:

Calcium link:  http://myhealthoptimizer.com/the-truth-about-calcium-supplements/

Magnesium link:  http://myhealthoptimizer.com/a-true-miracle-mineral-magnesium/

Another common cause of stiff and sore necks is a deficiency in Omega 3 fatty acids.  For most of us, our diets tend to leave us with an over-abundance of Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids and a deficiency in Omega 3 fatty acids.  This condition can lead to a number of health problems.  One of the ones that can be most immediately noticeable is an increase in overall inflammation in the body.  This can lead to stiffness and pain in any of the joints in our musculoskeletal system, including those in the neck.

There are a number of really good Omega 3 supplements on the market.  There also are a number of them that I would not consider to be any good.  Sorting that out is beyond the scope of this article.  If you lack expertise in this area, I would recommend consulting a knowledgeable and qualified practitioner. In my opinion this area of health is too important to leave to chance.

Some other areas to look at include the physical setup of how you sleep.  You might want to try modifying the way you use pillows so that you neck is supported but not stressed and so that it is in a healthy position while you sleep.

If you try the “Sock and Balls” method described in this article, please let me know how it works for you.  Please also feel free to post your comments and questions below.

To your great health!

Jeff Bell

Deborah Davis’ Spirit Of QiGong instructional video.

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  1. Steve Zimmelman
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Great tip! 😉

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Thanks. I hope that you find it really helpful. Lots of folks have. If you have trouble with a stiff neck or similar problems, I have more measures to share. Send me an e-mail to: jeff@myhealthoptimizer.com, include a bit of background and I will let you know some other things should be very helpful. To your great health! Jeff Bell

  2. amber
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip. Ill be trying this soon. Ive had cervical whiplash since 2003 thanks to beong rear-ended and every day I have a stiff neck and sometimes into my shoulders. Severe at times that I can’t turn my head for a week or 2 :-( I constantly have to be mindful of how I sit and move and how I look for long periods of time at things. Thanks again for the tip :-)

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted May 30, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Hi Amber,

      You’re welcome. I hope it helps you. You might also find my article on “How I Fix Up Sore Joints” to be helpful. If you want a copy, please e-mail with your request. I will see that you get it. Also, you could search on my site for Organic Sulfur. Read the various posts on that. Organic Sulfur can really help with the overall healing from that type of injury. It provides many other benefits, as well. Send your request to: jeff@myhealthoptimizer.com

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

  3. Teresa
    Posted August 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Heya i’m for the primary time here. I found this board and I find It really helpful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to offer one thing back and help others like you helped me.

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    • Jeff Bell
      Posted August 25, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Teresa,

      I am not sure what your comment has to do with “A Simple Trick For Sore And Stiff Necks”. I am doing my very best to make this site, http://www.MyHealthOptimizer.com a place where people who need help with their urgent health problems can come to for help. So while I am grateful for people posting their comments to make this site as interesting and interactive as possible. However, I am asking those who post under the various blog posts and articles to make sure their comments are relevant to the article or blog post. That is so that those who rely on this site for the help they are seeking can more easily find the answers and solutions they are seeking.

      Thanks so very much for your consideration and cooperation with this.

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

  4. Jennifer
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m very excited to try this trick for sore necks!
    I was rear-ended over 20 years ago at 80kms and I was at a complete stop. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia but refuse to let it define me. I take magnesium and sea buckthorn regularly and exercise often. I would like you to please send me “how I fix up joints” as I seem to be getting worse lately!

    Thanks in advance!

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Hi Jennifer,

      This simple trick for relieving and improving stiff and sore necks has worked for a lot of people. So I would be optimistic that it will help you. One thing to keep in mind: Since I first posted this article, a few people has reported that tennis balls are a bit too big in diameter to be comfortable for them to start with. They have used smaller balls, such as handballs and gotten good results. So I thought I would share that in case that helps.

      I will send you my article on how I fix up sore joints. It really works for almost anyone who tries it.

      And since you mention that you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, (whether you accept the diagnosis or not, I am guessing that you are dealing with at least some of the typical symptoms), I will offer my initial free consultation. Although conventional medicine barely acknowledges that fibromyalgia has real biological causes, let alone offering effective relief or cures, a number of us in the alternative field have found highly effective ways to deal with fibromyalgia. The factors that cause it are actually quite well understood and there are measures that almost always work. Please feel free to e-mail me at: jeff@MyHealthOptimizer.com if you would like help with this.

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

  5. Charl
    Posted October 31, 2013 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    Hi Jeff,
    I’ve recently (about a year ago) been diagnosed as having diabetes. Since starting to take medication for this I have noticed two symptoms. Chronic stiffness in the neck and chronic Diarrhea. Not sure if they are related. I actually don’t experience any pain with the stiffness. But I do almost permanently feel like stretching my neck. Its just stiffness without any real pain. Just very uncomfortable. Any ideas?

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted October 31, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Hi Charl,

      Good questions! Without knowing more about the specifics of your diagnosis, your overall health background and the specific diabetes medication you are taking, as well as any other medications you may be taking, I cannot say for sure, especially when it comes to your stiff neck. But I don’t think it is much of a stretch to blame the diarrhea on the diabetes medication. This is a well-known side-effect of many of the most common oral diabetes medications in common use these days. (There are pages and pages of Internet posts about this side effect. It is even included in the warnings that come with the prescription. Here is just one of many: http://www.sharecare.com/health/diabetes-complications/can-my-diabetes-cause-diarrhea)

      The stiff neck could be a bit more complicated to pin down. But it may be important. It could be the diabetes, itself that is the cause, or it could be the medication, or possibly the combination. It could even be the chronic diarrhea if that is leading to dehydration or under-hydration. All of these factors can increase systemic inflammation, and can compromise neurological health in ways that may show up as stiff joints, a chronically stiff neck, or similar sets of symptoms. It is important to get to the bottom of this and correct it. Chronic inflammation can have serious long-term consequences.

      Again, I would need a lot more information to help you narrow down the specific causes and to help you reverse these problems. Towards that end, I offer a free initial consultation for those interested. If this sounds good to you, fell free to click on the “Get Started” link at the top of my site and fill in the form. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out from personal experience just how much improvement is possible.

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

  6. Kat
    Posted March 15, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I tried the tennis balls in a sock therapy and this is the second morning in a couple of years that I woke up without a stiff neck! Awesome! I’m telling my daughter about it right now! She has a housekeeping business and she was just telling me about her sore neck. So grateful for your knowledge, thanks.

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted March 16, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Hi Kat, I am glad that you tried this and that is working for you. I use it, my wife uses it, and a number of my friends and clients use it. Sometimes really simple solutions can solve difficult problems. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. I always love to know how the various recommendations I make are working.

      I will send you an article I have called: “How I Fix Up Sore Joints”. It has another useful way to deal with sore joints and related problems. This approach also is in wide-spread use with very good results being reported. Again, it is one that I use and have used going back decades to the time I was a competing athlete. Be on the look-out for this in your e-mail in-box for the address you listed when you posted your comment.

      To your great health!
      Jeff Bell

  7. Shauna Ryan
    Posted May 22, 2014 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I am definitely looking forward to trying this technique for my stiff neck. I have had fibromyalgia for 15 years and am looking into different ways to help my pain. My neck and upper back stiffness seem to be the worst and never go away. If there is any other help you can pass along I would love to hear about it. Thank you.

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted May 22, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Hi Shauna, Thanks for the question and for sharing what you need. I’m sure that the “Simple Trick For Sore And Stiff Necks” will help. So I encourage you to try it. What if you could get rid of the fibromyalgia altogether? Wouldn’t that be great? While I can’t guarantee that result, (if anyone tells you they can, I would be suspect), I can say that based on my experience there is a very good chance that with a little help you can get rid of it completely, or at least drop the effects of it to such a low level that they no longer intrude on your life.

      I still have some room in my schedule for initial free consultations. If that sounds good to you, please go to the Get Started page on this web site and fill in the form. Make sure you let me know that you would like a free initial consultation. There is no obligation and guarantee you will get real value from our session.

      To your great health!
      Jeff Bell

  8. Carol Brow
    Posted September 14, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    As a CranioSacral Therapist, I have had great success
    freeing neck restrictions by using the cranial base release
    along with the release of other cranial bone restrictions.
    This therapy is is especially good for whiplash. Chiropractic
    after the release of soft tissue by craniosacral work is a good
    strategy. As it is said ” the bones are slaves to the fascia”.
    You can find a CS therapist by going to http://www.upledger.com.

    Let’s keep helping each other find answers.


    • Jeff Bell
      Posted October 4, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Carol, Thanks for pointing this out. I agree. And I also think that a lot of people can experience relief and progressive improvement by using the method I have outlined in this post. For more serious problems, it is always important to get an evaluation from a properly trained professional. And for sore necks, a Cranial-Sacral therapist is a great person to start with.

      To your great health!


  9. Jawad
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    First of all i would like to thanks you for sharing this great tip, i would definitely try it, i been diagnose of having AS (ankylosing spondylitis), and my neck has a very restrictive movement since last 4 years, i would also consider to increase my Magnesium intake as well, would appreciate if you can sen me the info about “How I Fix Up Sore Joints”

    How about massaging with essential oils like Lavender and peppermint?

    Thank You!

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jawad,

      First, sorry to take so long to reply. We had a technical problem which prevented me from getting the usual notices for pending questions and comments. I apologize for that.

      I just e-mailed you the article. Again, I apologize for the delay. I did not see your message as I should have. Hopefully by now you have found a solution. IN addition to the article I just e-mailed to you, I recommend that you take organic sulfur in the form of high quality, bioavailable MSM. I also think that both transdermal magnesium and a product called ReMag will help. Here is a link to the blog I wrote about transdermal magnesium. I would try the gel. http://myhealthoptimizer.com/a-true-miracle-mineral-magnesium/

      You can google the ReMAg to find where to buy that.

      I would also look into thoroughly, but carefully detoxing your body, eliminating allergens and reducing systemic inflammation. You can e-mail me for details.

      To your great health!


  10. Posted June 11, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi,I check your new stuff named “A Simple Trick For Sore And Stiff Necks” regularly.Your story-telling style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing! And you can look our website about love spell.

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted September 18, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink


      Thanks for your kind words. Feel free to check out some of my newer blog posts. They include quite a bit of really important health information that I have not seen available elsewhere.

      To your great health!


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