Tip: Fix This Tiny Muscle to Relieve Neck Pain

Stiff neck and shoulders? Achy upper back? Release this unsuspecting muscle for immediate relief. Here's how.

Ever turn the wrong way or wake up with a stiff neck or pain in the shoulder? You've probably tried all the head-tilt stretches for the traps and the classic arm-across-the-neck shoulder stretch. Maybe you've even foam-rolled the upper back and traps, but still, no relief.

Well, the problem could be caused by a muscle you don't even know you have.

The subclavius muscle is a short, triangular muscle of the thoracic wall that lies underneath the clavicle. It originates from the first rib and courses laterally to insert on the undersurface of the middle third of the clavicle.

The main function of the subclavius is to stabilize the clavicle during movements of the shoulder girdle. It's also significant in preventing injuries to the adjacent neurovascular structures due to fractures of the clavicle (1).

This little muscle can cause all kinds of problems and is often the most overlooked culprit of pain. Rounded posture and a lot of pressing volume in your program can exacerbate it.

How to Fix It

To release the subclavius, trace your clavicle (collar bone) on the inferior (underneath) area until you find a tender spot. Gently massage the area with your finger or use a round object to release the muscle.

The best way to use a tool for this is to prop the ball up on a wall and lean into it for about two minutes.

Next time you have nagging neck pain, give this a go.


  1. Sendic, G. (2020, October 29). Subclavius muscle. Retrieved March 02, 2021, from https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/subclavius-muscle