Pain in the body, especially neck, shoulder and upper back pain, is something that nobody wants to experience.
However, working at a desk all day, sitting in the car for long periods of time, or even sleeping in the wrong position make many people today deal with these types of pain.
In most cases, people rely on ibuprofen to treat their pain. However, these pills provide only short-term effects. Therefore, you should try to relieve neck and shoulder pain in a natural way.
Common Causes of A Stiff Neck and Tight Shoulders
Weak neck muscles can lead to a stiff neck. Typically, it is characterized by soreness and difficulty moving the neck, particularly if you try to turn your head to the side.
Causes of a stiff neck:
- Poor posture
- Excessive stress
- Sports injuries
- Cervical spine disorders
- Repeatedly turning the head from side to side
- Holding the neck in an abnormal position for a long period
- Muscle sprain or strain
- Sleeping with the neck in an awkward position
Also, you can experience a stiff neck as a result of tight shoulders of upper back pain, which are typically caused by poor posture.
The good news is that with the proper stretches and strengthening exercises, you will relieve the pain in your neck, shoulder and upper back.
1. Chin Tucks
This exercise can improve the flexibility of the neck. It can reduce pressure on the spinal nerves and eliminate headaches caused by tight sub-occipital muscles.
You should sit up straight. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and place the index finger on the middle of the chin. Look forward and press backwards.
You should tuck in your chin, making sure to bring it backward in a direction to your spine. When you feel a stretch (without pain) you should stop. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Do 3 repetitions.
2. Cow-Face Pose
This exercise will open up tight shoulders and allow you get complete muscle release.
Start on all fours. Cross the right knee over the left, and make sure to stack one on top of the other. Sit down between your legs, making sure your buttocks are on the ground. If your hips are too tight, rest on a block or blanket.
Breathe in, and reach your right arm out to the side. Rotate the arm inward so the thumb will face the floor. Exhale the arm behind the back.
Bend your elbow and move your hand up in a direction to the neck. Roll the right shoulder back and down. Breathe in and reach the left arm forward, palm facing up. Draw your arm towards the ceiling.
Breathe out and bend your elbow. You should reach to grasp the finger of your opposite hand. If your fingers do not clasp, use a strap or towel. Hold for 20-30 seconds then repeat the same procedure on the other side. Perform 3 repetitions for each arm.
3. Cross-Body Arm Stretch
This exercise will reduce stiffness and pain and increase the range of motion.
First, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, bring one of the arms across the body at chest-level. Lock that arm and use the other arm to stretch it.
Hold for 10 seconds then repeat on the other side. Do 5-10 repetitions.
4. Straight Arm Wall Stretch
This one will stretch muscles in the front of the shoulder and rotator cuff area. It improves your posture, thus reducing strain on the shoulder and neck.
You should flatten your arm against a wall, making sure the palm is facing the wall and the arm is parallel to the floor.
Keep your shoulder pressed to the wall then gradually move your chest away from the wall. Your shoulders should be perpendicular to the arm. Hold for 30-60 seconds then repeat on the other side.
5. Thread The Needle
This pose provides relief in the case of stiffness and pain in the back, neck, or shoulders.
Begin on your knees and hands. Slide the right hand between the left knee and left hand. Slide the arm to the left so that your right shoulder and side of your head will rest on the ground.
Breathe in and reach the left hand up in a direction to the sky. Find your deepest stretch, stay there and reach through your fingers. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Do 3 repetitions on each side.
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