Red Green Repeat Adventures of a Spec Driven Junkie

Massaging Your Shoulder & Neck or Trapezius

Did you know that software developers are highly likely to suffer from sore trapezius?

Honestly, I don’t know for sure, but at every massage I received, the masseuse asked: “do you work on a computer?” when they massaged my trapezius.

Well, what’s a trapezius? It’s a muscle that goes from your shoulder to neck to shoulder blade. It’s named that as this muscle forms a trapezoid.



An easy way to test if you have problems with your trapezius is to press into the muscles between your neck and shoulder. Any sore spots or lumps? If so, you have a problem with your trapezius.

Mine is particularly bad, the lump is about the size of a ping pong ball and just as hard. Pressing into it relieves it a bit, but there’s only so much I can press or massage before my fingers get sore.

The sore trapezius isn’t a problem in the long term, that I know of, but it affects my shoulder movement, since that’s is the part of the body the trapezius supports.

Upto now, I have found the best way to solve a sore trapezius is to massage it myself or by a masseuse. Everything else I have tried hasn’t been effective. Once I bought a portable neck massager, I haven’t looked back!

Portable Neck Massager

If you don’t have one yet, get yours with Free shipping from Amazon today!

What is it?

Simply, a portable neck massager is a battery powered device that massages your neck & shoulder area.

Who needs it?

Anyone who:

  • has a sore trapezius
  • spends significant amount of time in front of a computer
  • loves “should/neck massage”
  • doesn’t want to break the bank when getting massage
  • wants to get massages in their home

There’s probably additional reasons that I haven’t thought of, but yes, it’s that good.

How does this work?

This device is similar to other massaging devices that uses rollers. I have seen similar roller designs on shiatsu style. The rollers rotate and create a massaging motion over the contact surface.

Killer Features

Arm Bands

The device’s arm bands one of the killer features. They are there to help put the device on your neck, but the wrist bands help focus the rollers on the sore parts of the trapezius. No other device does this.

By default, the rollers heat up to increase muscle relaxation. This works with the rolling action and in a sense, gives the sensation of fingers massaging your shoulder/neck.


The battery is a game changer when it comes to this massagers. I have used similar massagers that require connection to an outlet to work. Without a wire connection, the massager is portable and I can massage anywhere I want to. It’s similar to the difference between a desktop computer and a laptop.

Alternative Solutions

Real Massage

Getting a massage from a human being is the best in relieving tension anywhere in the body. Another person can focus on areas better than a machine can and work with your feedback (“ouch!”) to adjust as needed. As a masseuse can also provide insight on why you have a lot of pain in a certain region and give tips to alieviate it.

While a real massage is great, the cost and scheduling are the only downsides if you are busy. Massages are usually 30min to 1hr at a time and that does not factor in travel time & scheduling.

Brookstone Neck Massager

This is the device that got me interested in neck massaging since after a real massage, my neck area is the most sore region of my body. I tried it out at Costco when they sold it and a demo person came by. In the first moment, I felt it massage my sore trapezius.

The main drawback of this massager: the power cable. The first moment I wanted to massage my neck while watching TV, I realized setting up would be difficult and I worry about others tripping over the wire.

Flat Massagers

My wife has a pillow with integrated shiatsu rollers. It works well on flatter and easily accessible areas such as my back or leg.

The main issue is a flat massager has no way of accessing tense areas around my neck or shoulder, no matter how I contorted.

At the same time, the unit uses own pressure to increase pressure, so that may work for specific parts of the body, but not so for others.

Foam Follers

I love to roll out my back on a foam roller. It is nice to be able to hit certain spots on my back.

The downside is similar to a flat massager. It just cannot reach the sore areas of the trapezius easily.


A portable neck massager is a great tool to treat a sore trapezius caused by sitting by doing too much computer work. It’s better than any alternatives I have tried, such as a real massage, flat massagers, or even the similar Brookstone neck massager.

If you have read up to here, go get it at Amazon with free shipping now and try it out. I guarantee you will love it.