We often neglect our neck and shoulders, sitting long periods in front of a computer or at a desk, lifting and carrying heavy items, throwing bags over our back and slumping into our favourite chair, just to mention a few.
Daily life stresses are also mostly carried in our shoulders. We even have a saying, he looks like he’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Here are 5 tips to help relieve neck and shoulder pain and reduce tension.
An important note before we start!
Stretching a muscle can actually do the very opposite of what you’re trying to achieve – making the very muscle you’re trying to make less tight, tighter.
Just go really slowly and softly, soften the muscles and let them go as opposed to over stretching them.
1. Individual shoulder rolls
For such a simple exercise, shoulder rolls provide a lot of benefits. They increase range of motion in the shoulders and upper back, improve posture and release throat tension. To perform shoulder rolls at your desk, sit on the edge of the chair without your back touching the back rest. Bend your knees and place your feet hip-width apart on the floor. Shift your hips until you feel both sit bones press equally into the seat. Sit up straight to place your spine in its proper posture. Your neck should align with your spine so that your head is over the centre of your shoulders, not extending forward. While holding this correct posture, lift your right shoulder slowly back and then up toward your ear. Roll your right shoulder forward and down. Next, roll your left shoulder backward, up, forward and down. Alternate rolls in this direction until each shoulder has rolled three times. Roll your shoulders in the opposite directions three times each. Finish by shrugging your shoulders straight up toward your ears together and pressing them down five times.
2. The classic shoulder roll.
In this exercise, we will breathe in and bring our shoulders up to our ears, as we breathe out we will roll our shoulders back and down.
We can do shoulder rolls throughout the day to relieve tension. Shoulder rolls in combination with breathing exercises also help us get comfortable and focused.
Sit comfortably and move to the edge of your seat. Place both your feet flat on the floor. Hands should rest on your knees or legs. Your eyes can be closed or looking at a spot on the floor in front of you. Relax your shoulders. Relax your eyes and eyebrows. Relax your jaw. Sit as still and silently as possible.
Let’s begin…breathe in and bring your shoulders up to your ears. Breathe out and roll your shoulders back and down. Repeat 2-3 times. Gently blink your eyes open if they were closed.
3. Arm raises
This is a pretty simple and fun exercise in which you will slowly raise your arms up over your head as you breathe in for three seconds and slowly bring your arms back down as you breathe out for three seconds.
Arm raises give us a bit of a stretch, which makes us more alert, so it’s a good exercise to help you wake up or if you need to take a break from a tough task.
Try to find a comfortable seat, sit up tall and move to the edge of your chair. Place your feet flat on the floor. Rest your hands on your legs. You can keep your eyes open for this exercise. Be sure you have enough space to raise your arms up over your head.
Do your best to focus on your breath.
First reach your arms slowly over your head and breathe in for 3…2…1. Then exhale and bring your arms down for 3… 2… 1.
(Repeat 2-3 more times.)
Finish with one lovely shoulder roll. Breathe in and bring your shoulders up to your ears. Breathe out and roll your shoulders back and down.
4. Raindrop technique massage.
Using your fingertips and gently tapping, as if you were making rain sounds, tap on the tight areas of your neck and shoulders. There are a multitude of pressure points or trigger points in this area and gentle tapping is often enough to loosen and relax pain and tension. Tap the right shoulder with the left hand and left shoulder with the right hand. Using both hands, left hand on the left side, and right hand on the right side and gently tap up the neck and all over your head.
5. Book a Shiroabhyanga Indian head massage with me.
A blissful hour, deeply relaxing head, neck and shoulder massage with warm scented oils, in my new Harrogate town centre therapy space.
When you hear the word massage, doesn’t it make you think of a relaxing experience where your tensions and stresses melt away? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get a massage – maybe even right now? We often think of massage as a luxurious treat, an indulgence, and an extravagant experience. But in fact, massage is an important component of optimal health and wellness.
In Ayurveda there is an inherent connection between enveloping the body in oil and enveloping it in love. Both oil and love provide a sense of nurturing, grounding and nourishment. These qualities benefit the entire body; especially the nervous system and most importantly, they support the entire being – body, mind and spirit. Having an Indian head massage with warm oil gives you the opportunity to give love and nourishment to yourself. Call Amanda Joy on 07958578464 and make an appointment for your Indian head massage in August for just £35.