How To Ease Neck And Shoulder Pain – Tips And Simple Exercises

How To Ease Neck And Shoulder Pain – Tips And Simple Exercises

Did you ever wake up feeling your neck and shoulders stiff and painful? Or felt aches in that area at the end of a day. A pain-free neck, shoulders, and back is something most of us take for granted until something happens.

Without going into serious medical conditions, chronic pains, severe injuries and so on, many things can cause neck and shoulder pain. In this article, you’ll find out what are the main causes and how to ease neck and shoulder pain.

Neck And Shoulder Pain Causes

Holding your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged time can lead to strains in the muscles and tendons of your neck and shoulders.

Some postures and activities that commonly contribute to neck and shoulder pain are:

      • sleeping on too high pillow or a stack of pillows
      • sitting at a computer or over a phone with your neck strained forward or tilted up
      • suddenly jerking your neck during exercise

We basically spend most of our time hunched over instead of sitting upright, and that puts more of a load on your back and your neck’s muscles.

    • Soft tissue injuries

Neck and shoulder pain is often due to an injury of the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) including:

      • stiffness
      • headache
      • muscle spasms
    • Doing housework

Working overhead, you’re constantly leaning your head backwards for a long period.

It’s recommended to take a break to change positions and stretch or rotate your neck and shoulders instead of staying in the same position the whole time.

    • Playing with kids

If you have kids, it’s likely that you haven’t always been kind to your back and neck. Lifting kids, playing with them on the ground, catching a kid jumping from some higher stance….well, perfect set up for an injury.

The better way to play: Bend your knees and lift them as close as you can to your body.

    • Carrying a shoulder bag

Big bag you carry to work – loaded with stuff, day by day, may cause you neck and shoulder pain. While we carry a heavy shoulder bag, we compensate to keep our head level with the horizon, so we have our balance. As the shoulder bag is pulling you down on one side, we’re constantly using the muscles in our backs and necks to keep our head and shoulders upright. And day by day you’re constantly straining those muscles.

So switch the shoulder you carry your bag on, or, even better, use a backpack.

Tips To Prevent Neck And Shoulder Pain

  • Change the way you sleep

Your neck needs to be supported during the night. Try not to sleep on your stomach as this causes excessive strain on the neck muscles and joints, making symptoms worse. Sleep on your back or side. When sleeping on your back you might need to use two pillows, layered in a way that the bottom pillow supports your shoulders, while the upper pillow is overlapped and supporting your neck.

For sleeping on your side, have a thick enough pillow or use two, so that the pillow is tucked all the way to the shoulders supporting the neck.

Working at a computer, or spending prolonged time on a phone with a forward head posture, can put a lot of stress on your neck over hours!

When looking at your smartphone or tablet, try to bring the screen closer up in front of your face, rather than look down. In addition, when working at a computer, make sure the monitor is high enough so that the top 1/3rd of the screen is eye level.

When sitting, avoid slouching on couches or in a chair.

  • Improve your shoulder and neck motion

Most pain to the neck is caused by stiffness in the upper neck and upper back, causing abnormal strain to the mid-neck. The goal is to increase the mobility of these areas, to alleviate strain and restore natural movement to the whole neck and shoulder area.

Stretches To Relieve Shoulder And Neck Pain

1. Across-the-chest stretchacross-the-chest-stretch

This exercise helps increase flexibility and range of motion in your shoulder joint and the surrounding muscles. When doing this exercise, lower your arm if you feel any pain in your shoulder.

      1. Bring your right arm across your chest.
      2. Place it in the crease of your left elbow or use your left hand to support your arm.
      3. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
      4. Repeat on the opposite side.
      5. Do each side 3 – 5 times

2. Neck release

This exercise is a gentle way to loosen tension in your neck and shoulders.

      1. Lower your chin toward your chest. You’ll feel a stretch along the back of your neck.
      2. Gently tilt your head to the left to stretch your right shoulder.
      3. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
      4. Repeat on the opposite side.

Do each side 3–5 times.

 

4. Eagle arms spinal rolls

This exercise stretches your shoulder muscles. If the arm position is uncomfortable, do this exercise by holding opposite shoulders.

      1. While seated, extend your arms out to the sides.eagle-arms-spinal-rolls
      2. Cross your elbows in front of your body with your right arm on top.
      3. Bend your elbows, placing the backs of your forearms and hands together.
      4. Reach your right hand around to bring your palms together.
      5. Hold this position for 15 seconds.
      6. On an exhale, roll your spine as your draw your elbows in toward your chest.
      7. On an inhale, open your chest and lift your arms.
      8. Continue this movement for 1 minute.
      9. Repeat on the opposite side.

5. Seated twist

This exercise stretches your shoulders and neck. Keep your hips facing forward during this exercise. Allow the twist to start in your lower back.

    1. Sit in a chair with your ankles directly under your knees.
    2. Twist your upper body to the right, bringing the back of your left hand to your thigh.
    3. Place your right hand down wherever it’s comfortable.
    4. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.
    5. Repeat on the left side.
    6. Do each side 3–5 times.

One thought on “How To Ease Neck And Shoulder Pain – Tips And Simple Exercises

  1. Hi

    This is so appropriate for me. I am constantly having neck, back, and shoulder pain because I exercise and then sit in front of a computer for most of the day. It can really put a strain on those areas. I will give these stretches a try. Thanks for sharing.

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