Ways to Soothe Neck and Shoulder Pain
For a Stress-Free House Move
If all has gone according to plan, this article (scheduled in advance) will be published the weekend after I moved from London to Norwich and I will be settled in (with or without Internet remains to be seen!)
It's taken almost eight months from the idea to the execution and those have been among the most stressful months of my life. One day I may write (rant) about them!
So to ensure that at least one job was taken off my list, I invited guest author Isabel F William to write about how to soothe neck and shoulder pain. This may seem unrelated to my normal blog topics but the stress of the last few months, plus time spent at my PC, have led to me suffering with very painful shoulders and neck.
A friend told me that Tai Chi could be very helpful, and in Isabel's bio I see she's a Tai Chi master – so I asked for some tips.
Here is a little more background for you to get know Isabel.
My name is Isabel Frank William. During the day I am a Consultant and I am a Freelance Writer by night.
My aim is to spread my voice through interesting and well written articles.
Topics I am particularly interested in are well-being, mental health, self improvement, plus the beauty of millennial transitions in all aspects of life.
I love literature and philosophy, and to keep me active I am a runner, and a Tai Chi master. Although sometimes it is just enough to enjoy a really good book, smooth jazz and a cup of coffee to travel somewhere else.
Over to Isabel….
Ways to Soothe Neck and Shoulder Pain
A stiff neck and chronic shoulder pain are not uncommon issues in the 21st century. As most menial jobs are slowly getting relegated to our incessant interaction with computer screens, it’s almost a miracle how we manage to go through some days without tedious headaches. After all, migraines are only a single accompanying symptom of neck and shoulder issues – there are a lot more. In order to avoid having to go through soul-crushing recovery programs, here are some practical ways to soothe neck and shoulder pain.
For thousands of years, tai chi has been lauded as one of the best Chinese disciplines that are meant to increase physical prowess, mind-body balance and overall health. It has been aptly described as a “moving meditation” – since it is above all else a martial arts practice with a lot of body-soothing benefits. As you go through all the motions of tai chi, your mind will fall into a relaxed state, which gives your brain a chance to “reconnect” better with the rest of the body and repair muscle damage. This is why it can be so beneficial for the pain in the neck area.
Try to practice the shoulder shrug and drop exercise for maximum effect – a set of movements that is truly easy to perform. You should simply stand with arms hanging loose on each of your sides. Inhale as deeply as you can and raise the shoulders up, as high as possible, and hold them there for a second. Then just exhale quickly and let your shoulder slump back down.
Even though walking is one of the most natural body states for human beings ever since our ancestors turned bipedal millions of years ago, it still somehow manages to be underappreciated as a beneficial activity for the body. Covering great distances on a daily basis has very obvious and scientifically proven health benefits in the long run. Your muscle tone and vitality will be impressively maintained as you reach old age if you’ve walked two hours a day consistently throughout your life. The same goes for your neck.
As you walk, the body will begin to work overtime beneath the waist as your upper body relaxes. This means that you will feel a noticeable decrease in tension of your neck and shoulder area. The longer you walk, the more benefits you will reap, so if you are an avid hiker and casual adventurist, trekking across challenging topography could be exactly what the doctor ordered. If you arm yourself with useful equipment from a camping shop and pack nutritious supplies for two days, you could go on a hiking weekend every week.
This will definitely have an amazing impact on the state of your neck as long as you don’t stay hunched over your phone.
Yoga is the popular go-to choice for people who are looking for reasonable ways to soothe neck and shoulder pain. When one considers it is a viable entry-level discipline with a highly modular length of exercises, it is easy to see why. You can easily spare ten minutes out of your busy work schedule to practice a simple set of moves to ease the pain.
Begin by sitting in the Sukhasana pose (also known as easy and meditation pose) and start to inhale and exhale medium breaths at even intervals. Just make sure your spine and your head are extended in the upright position, and this should be enough to initiate the un-strain mode. However, there is a lot more to it and it is only the beginning of a sequence of neck- and shoulder-soothing exercises, the length of which depends on your yoga proficiency.
Update October 2019: Isabel wrote this article for me when I was trying to move into my new house in Norwich in June 2018. At the time I was stressed out of my brain and crippled with pain and my shoulders and back, which people were telling me was because of the stress of the move, too much time at the keyboard and life in general. I'm happy to report that the move went well. I LOVE living in Norwich and have joined a yoga class here. Despite still spending way too many hours at the keyboard, my neck and shoulder pains have completely cleared up.
Swimming is an excellent activity for people who are just looking for a refreshing and fun way to activate their entire body. It is an especially potent physical activity for those who are suffering from chronic back pain, including neck and shoulder pain. However, be forewarned, the side effects such as swimmer’s shoulder is known to plague both professional swimmers and avid swimming fans who tend to go overboard. Just make sure you are well prepped and educated on what sort of swimming movements can be helpful for your particular condition. You don’t want to make the situation even worse than it initially was.
Neck And Shoulder Issues In The Population
Reports have shown that neck and shoulder issues are experienced by at least 20% of the overall global workforce, which is a truly disturbing statistic. This chronic pain is in fact an urgent signal your body broadcasts in order to motivate you to intervene – because if the neck muscles become too weak and a complex set of joints and bones deviates too much, you can end up with a barely functional neck. This is a harbinger of far-reaching consequences for your body because the neck and shoulders are a bridge that, crucially, connects your “command center” with the “machinery”.
Therefore, taking care of neck and shoulder pain should be high on your priority list.
OK, some useful tips there to soothe neck and shoulder pain. Thanks Isabel. I already do yoga and will look for a Tai Chi class in my new home town, where hopefully hiking in the Norwich countryside will be more appealing than hiking in London. I'm afraid swimming and I never got on – but three out of four should be good to ease my neck and shoulder pain.
Do you find problems from sitting too long at the PC? Please share any tips.