Best Myofascial Release Tools for Neck and Shoulders Review 2018
updated December 1, 2018
Neck and shoulder pain is a common complaint among both athletes and recreational exercisers. In this article, we will provide self massage neck and shoulder reviews of the best products to bring relief. We’ll also share the best foam roller exercises for the neck and shoulders to allow you to get the most performance from your purchase.
Best Neck and Shoulder Massager Reviews
The OPTP Pro Foam Roller is a high quality, long lasting foam roller that will maintain its shape, even with heavy use. It is constructed with a close-cell structure and cross-link foam technology, providing both comfort and durability.
The OPTP Pro Foam Roller is smooth, with no bumpy surfaces, making it ideal as a neck massager. The lightly textured, marble surface of the OPTP Pro provides a tactile feel that eases tight and / or sore areas in the upper back and shoulder area.
The OPTP Pro roller is available in a range of densities according to the color of the roller. The green marble and blue marble rollers are made of the same moderately firm yet comfortable density. This makes them great for self massage of the neck and shoulders, along with core strengthening exercises.
The pink marble pro roller soft is softer in density and provides more gentle compression of your spine. This makes it the ideal introductory roller to use if you have neck or shoulder pain. The OPTP silver roller has a smooth surface and standard density. This is a great eco friendly roller for people beginning foam roller exercise and for general home use.
The Axis foam roller is a firm density roller and is used by many athletes to bring relief from neck pain. This roller provides intense myofascial release. It will not lose it’s shape, even after heavy use and extreme workouts. The Axis roller is available in the standard 36 inch length, as well as the shorter 12 inch and 18 inch lengths. These are portable enough to fit in your gym bag or in your suitcase for travel.
The Axis foam roller also comes in a half round shape. This makes it ideal to fit snugly under your neck when you are lying on the floor.
The OPTP Star Roller is the most innovative product in the OPTP range. From the end, it looks like a star and features multiple ridges or channels that run down its length. The ridges keep the roller stable while getting on and off, yet it rolls easily to allow you comfortable, variable amounts of pressure to release tightness and tension in the shoulders and neck. The softness of the Star Roller allows for the relaxing and releasing of soft tissue restrictions. A firmer version provides increased pressure and sensory feedback.
Best of the Rest
The Elite Trend HQ Foam Roller is a thick roller designed to provide myofascial release, relieve soreness and reduce stress. This hard, foam roller is made from ABS pipe, which is far more durable than the standard hollow PVC roller.
The Elite Trend Foam Roller contains areas of flat surface and of deep ridges. It is, in essence, a hybrid between a rumble roller and a foam roller. This allows the user to massage both deep and superficial muscle in the shoulders and rhomboid areas. When you use this roller, you will notice increased neck and shoulder flexibility almost straight away. It is one of the best shoulder massagers on the market right now.
The Elite Trend Foam Roller is 13.5 inches long and 5.25 inches in diameter. It is constructed of much higher quality material than most other rollers on the market. You can have confidence that this product will, not only provide the relief that you need, but provide many years of faithful service.
Best Shiatsu Neck Massager
The Mount Plus M12 Neck Massager is a “U” shaped plastic device that you put around your neck and squeeze. It has two massage nodules that dig into the side of your neck when you apply pressure by bringing the handles together. You can change the angle by manipulating your hands to pinpoint specific trigger points in your neck.
The large curved back portion of the massager allows you to apply pressure at the point where the spine meets the skull, which is often where pain originates from. The Mount Plus M12 is a very handy, compact tool that you can carry with you anywhere to bring instant relief to your neck. You can use the massager while watching TV. It is very light and thin, making it ideal to carry with you when you travel.
You can purchase the Mount Plus M12 neck massager for less than ten dollars, making it very low cost way to gain relief from neck pain.
Best Neck and Shoulder Massager Stick Review
Other Neck and Back Pain Solution Products
The Trigger Point Cold Roller is a stainless steel roller with wheels on either end. The roller is filled with a liquid gel. You put the roller in the freezer overnight. When you pull it out of the freezer, it will stay cold for three to five hours, depending on outside air temperature.
When you need relief from neck and shoulder pain, lie with the trigger point areas directly on the roller. The cold compression will reduce any swelling and inflammation. At the same time, the rolling action will flush waste products and lactic acid from the muscle. Trigger Point Cold Roller will help to accelerate the recovery process. This will eliminate pain, allowing you to feel very light and loose in the area.
It is the cold aspect of the Trigger Point Cold Roller that takes it to the next level. The traditional trigger point activation products will not provide this ability to reduce swelling and inflammation.
With total dimensions of just 11 inches by 4 inches, the Trigger Point Cold Roller is an ideal travel companion, allowing you to get relief from neck and shoulder pain anywhere, anytime. The easy roll polyurethane wheels are guaranteed not to scratch any surface. This product comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty.
Trevida Therapy Massage Balls are the ideal shape and size to get into the hard to reach trigger points between your shoulder blades at the base of your spine. These firm balls are made from a thick rubber. They will stay firm against pressure. They also have a soft touch, grippy cover which makes them comfortable when they make contact with your skin. The soft grip texture also prevents the balls from rolling around on your skin when you want to keep them focused on a particular trigger point. You get two balls with each order, allowing you to work multiple areas of neck and shoulder tension at the same time.
The Trevida Therapy Massage balls come in a set of two and include handy storage bag.
Foam Roller Exercises For Neck and Shoulder Pain
We live in a flexion based society where we are always slumping our upper body forward. Over time, out muscle tissues will begin to adapt to that position. This can lead to chronic pain caused by trigger points in the shoulders and neck. Here are several things you can do on the foam roller to alleviate this pain.
Thoracic Extension Stretch
Lay down on your back with the foam roller perpendicular to your body and right under your scapula. Now lift your hips, keeping your stomach nice and tight and put your hands behind your head with your elbows forward.
Start rolling up and down, from your scapula to your neck and back again. Relax and breathe naturally as you roll, allowing your muscles to open up, Placing your elbows up allows you to spread the scapula, so that the roller can get deeply into the muscle tissue.
Keep doing this roll for 60-90 seconds.
Self Myofascial Release: Shoulders
Lay down on your back with the foam roller perpendicular to your body and right under your shoulders. Now lift your hips, keeping your stomach nice and tight and put your hands behind your head with your elbows forward.
Extend your head back as far as you can to the floor behind you. Exhale as you go back. Then come back to the start position. You will, in effect, be doing a mini crunch movement over the foam roller.
Lay face up on the floor with the foam roller running lengthways down your spine. Bring your hips all the way to the end of the foam roller and set your feet firmly on the floor. Spread your arms out to the sides and look directly up.
Relax, letting your shoulder blades wrap around the foam roller. With you palms up, simply bring your outstretched arms up toward your shoulder level. Breath and let the shoulders open up. As you feel comfortable bring your arms up a little higher. Your goal is to be able to move your arms up and down in a snow angel type movement.
Self Myofascial Release: Neck
Lay down on your back with the foam roller perpendicular to your body and right under your neck. Your knees should be bent with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Now simply roll your head from one side of the roller to the other. In effect you will be making an upside down “U” shape with your head. Start by turning your head and looking to the left. Then go up and look to the right, keeping your head on the roller all the time.
Make sure that you are not pushing on the bone of your neck as you do this move. Placing the roller a little higher will place the roller at the point where the muscle meets your skull.
Do this exercise for 60-90 seconds.
Lay down on your back with the foam roller perpendicular to your body and right under your trapezius muscles, just below your neck. Now roll over onto your side to target your traps. Roll back and forth on one side to dig deeply into the tissue of your trap muscle. Lift your hips as you push down with your upper body to really put pressure on this area.
Repeat this move on the other side of the body. Continue this exercise for 60-90 seconds on each side.
Neck and shoulder pain is chronic in our modern society. Much of it is brought on by our hunched over lifestyle. In this article we’ve identified the best products in the market to allow you to self administer deep tissue myofascial release in order to bring relief.
In our opinion the single best product to bring fast, ongoing relief for neck and shoulder pain is the OPTP Pro Foam Roller. When it comes to inexpensive portable neck and shoulder massage devices, you can’t go past the Mount Plus M12 neck massager, Trevida therapy balls and the Muscle Roller Stick.
Use these products in conjunction with our pain relieving exercises and you’ll finally be able to rid yourself of that nagging pain in the neck and shoulders. If you are looking for useful foam rollers for runners, read our review for the best ones here.
My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.