5 Simple Ways To Ease Neck & Shoulder Pain
The vast majority of people with neck or shoulder pain have a limited ability to breathe correctly. People in pain tend to start using their neck and shoulder muscles to help with breathing, instead of using the diaphragm (the coolest muscle in the body, by the way) and abdominals. Considering that we humans take upwards of 20,000 breaths per day, that’s a lot of extra work for your cranky neck and shoulders, which leads to extra tension all day, every day. The quickest, easiest way to get your neck & shoulders feeling better is to help them relax by learning how to breathe properly – using your diaphragm and abdominals.
- Lie on your belly and rest your forehead on your hands.
- Breathe in SILENTLY through your nose, trying to fill up an imaginary balloon
in your belly – fill up the belly, sides and back.
- Exhale gently ALL THEWAY – try to get all of your air out.
- Repeat for 3-5 minutes once or twice a day to help relax those neck and shoulder muscles!
Mind Your Posture
When we sit, our heads tend to fall forward, putting a lot more stress on the muscles of the neck and shoulders to support your noggin. The further forward your head, the harder your neck has to work to support it! Forward Head = Funky Necks. Frequent computer use with poor positioning is a major contributor to neck & shoulder pain. Looking down at the screen all day puts a lot of extra stress on the muscles and the discs. Adjust your computer screen so that the screen is at eye level. This way, your neck can relax and be a little less cranky.
Check Your Sleep Position
We spend anywhere from 6-8 hours in bed every night. It is important that you spend this time in good, relaxing positions. Many people sleep with a pillow that is too thick, which bends their neck in an awkward position all night. One of the quickest ways to self-inflicted neck & shoulder pain is sleeping on your stomach. Your spine is twisted in all sorts of funky ways. If you sleep like this all night, it’s no surprise you wake up feeling stiff and sore. Try to fall asleep on your back or side, with a thin pillow that allows your head to rest straight in line with your shoulders. This allows
your neck to rest in a more natural position.
Avoid Reading/Using Your Phone While Lying Down
Reading while lying down leads to forward heads and funky necks, and as mentioned, increases the pressure on the back of your neck. Tilting your head down 45 degrees increases the pressure on your neck by 49 pounds! (Imagine how your neck might feel if you decreased this pressure.) By limiting the time reading books or looking at your phone in bed you will ease your neck and shoulder pain. If you are going to read in bed, be sure you are sitting upright, rather than laying down.
Get Professional Help (Or Re-Visit It)
The fastest way to take care of your neck and/or shoulder pain is by going to see a professional. A professional coach or therapist can listen to your story, assess your pain and find out EXACTLY why you are having problems. They can then come up with a plan to fix it so you can get back to working out and tackling your passions! When looking for the right fit, you owe it to yourself to find one who is willing to spend quality, one-on-one time with you for a FULL HOUR. Do not settle for someone who just stretches you, gives you a massage then hands you a cookie-cutter sheet of exercises. Find someone who will give you a full hour of their undivided attention to ensure you are getting the most out of every single minute, so you can get back to the workouts, sports and activities you love as quickly as possible.
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