Stress has a direct effect on your body without you even realising it. It could be the reason for major health issues. The stressed mind has a tendency to pass the tension to certain areas of your body, especially the neck and shoulders. Remember, mind has a direct connection with the body. As a result, it blocks energy (at a cellular level) from flowing easily in and out of that area. Therefore, there is less blood flow, stiffness and sometimes even pain or spasms in these areas.
Good news is – you can combat the stress areas by following simple ways to release the tension.
Here are methods to suit you as per your comfort and ability to do them yourself to bring pain relief and ease the tensed muscles.
Do you know – “Among adults alone in the USA, 20% to 70% experience neck pain that interferes with their daily activities during their lifetime.” In the USA neck pain ranks in the top 5 disorders. 10-20% of people are known to have reported experiencing neck pain. It is directly responsible for your mental, physical, social health and wellbeing. Moreover, long term stress (tension) can also be the reason for chronic neck and shoulder pain.
The first method to release tension is the most commonly practised by everyone suffering from a stiff neck and shoulders. Yes, you are thinking right – massaging is the answer!
I am am sure all of you have unconsciously rubbed back of our neck with gentle circulatory strokes after a hard day’s work. It is your body’s automatic response to tensed muscles and nerves. Massaging helps the tendons and muscles to activate the blood flow, brings down the tension in the muscles by reducing lactic acid build-up. Massages could be a mixture of gentle strokes as well as the pressure applied by fingers tips. Some therapists also apply special oils or do aromatherapy to enhance the feeling of ease and comfort. It brings to your neck and shoulder pain relief instantly.
Tips: If the pain in your neck and shoulders is very severe – please check with a consultant before you go in for professional massage therapy.
I underwent a surgery beginning this year and the doctor advised me not to stretch for the first few months. That’s when I realised in my life, how many times in a day I stretch involuntarily. Be it Yoga, Gymnastics, Aerobics, Sports or any Dance Form – stretching is an integral part of all kinds of exercises. It is mainly due to poor posture that your shoulders and head bend forwards. Thus, causing your neck and shoulder muscles to become tight and sometimes even shorten them. Here are some highly recommended stretching methods to help loosen those postural muscles and ease the pain.
Four easy stretches and DIY methods to bring neck and shoulder pain relief are discussed step-by-step to make it easier for you to practise them at home:
Sit straight with your head squarely over your shoulders. Keep your left palm on your left ear.
Now, gradually tilt your head to the right side until pushing your neck gently and comfortably. You will feel the stretch in the neck and shoulders on the left side. Inhale and exhale deeply for 20-30 seconds and then come back to the straight position.
Repeat the same on the left side. Practise up to 10 sets daily.
Sit straight either cross-legged or in an upright position with shoulders and neck straight. Bend your right ear towards your right shoulder without raising your shoulders upwards. Next, roll your head forward so that your chin touches your mid-chest.
Roll your head in a circular motion taking your head and chin towards your left shoulder. Bring your left ear as close to the left shoulder as possible comfortably.
Next, roll your head back (only if you do not have a cervical issue in your spine). Bring it back by tilting it to the right side, to complete one rotation.
Repeat this circular motion 5 times in each direction.
Tips: For those of you who cannot bend your neck backwards – roll your head only sideways and forward making a U-shape (never backwards). Also, moving your neck back could increase pressure on the cervical spine.
Stand/sit straight without slouching or bending your shoulders or back. Roll your shoulders upwards and then rolling backwards in a smooth motion.
Bring them down as you roll them in a circular motion followed by rotating them forward and then up again. Thus, completing one roll.
Repeat the shoulder roll 5 times and then do the same in reverse direction, rolling forwards 5 times as well.
An age-old method to bring neck and shoulder pain relief is the simplest exercise ever ;
Stand straight parallel to a wall or pillar as close to it as possible without touching it. Now, make big circular circles with one arm keeping the arms straight at elbows and wrist. Let the shoulder ball rotate first swinging the arm to the front, upwards, backwards and down in this order. Rotate your arm for 5 times and then reverse the direction in the opposite side completing 10 rotations in total.
Now, do the same with your other arm and repeat the same circular motion. Here again, repeat 5×2 sets in each direction.
Tips: Throughout the motion maintain a straight relaxed posture with no slouching or bending forward.
When your head and shoulders bend forward due to poor posture the muscles in the chest and neck could shorten and tighten with time. Continued poor posture causes the neck to start paining. The following Yoga exercises to stretch your neck helps the postural muscles in order to bring neck and shoulder pain relief.
A recent 9-week study on 41 patients with nonspecific neck pain was observed before and after they practised weekly Yoga. As a result, the “9-week yoga intervention improved pain and neck-related disability for at least 12 months after completion. Sustained yoga practise seems to be the most important predictor of long-term effectiveness”.
Various Yoga poses lay special emphasis on stretching the neck and massaging them involuntarily; Warrior II Pose, Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), Cat-Cow Pose (Marjariasana), Cow Face Pose, Cobra (Bhujangasana Asana), Fish Pose (Matsyasana), Childs Pose (Balasana), Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), and Corpse Pose (Shavasana). All Yoga Poses are designed to stretch your neck at angles you wouldn’t have imagined.
Note: Step-by-Step directions of each Yoga Poses have been given in our website. Click here to gain access to the instructions:
No matter how much you massage, stretch or exercise your neck or shoulders – the best method to combat the pain is to build awareness of your posture. Posture should be monitored while, sleeping, sitting, standing, working at your desk or watching the TV Screen. If you improve your posture 98 % of the times you will not have any issues related to your neck and shoulders.
Awareness of the mind and body connect is another way to avoid the muscles and nerves to become tense. Your body has millions of cells who have a life of their own and respond to your thoughts and feelings. Therefore, tune in with your energy body. Thus, understanding how your body gets affected by every little or big negative thought and emotion is the key to a healthy and robust mind and body.
Try the stretches and Yoga exercises above and do write and tell us if we have been able to answer your frequently asked question: How to bring Neck and Shoulders Pain Relief? If you have any family member or close ones who you think could benefit from the neck and shoulder pain exercises – please share and spread the word!