That nagging, stabbing pain at the base of your neck and shoulders is a real pain in the, well, neck isn't it? It plagues most of us at some point and we need to realize it's usually a multi pronged issue. Sure our posture is lacking, we sit on computers and screens far too many hours every day and that definitely plays a roll in that chronic irritation in those tension areas across our shoulders that creep up our neck.
There's a couple of places you can start to get some relief but first I want to mention if you have numbness, tingling or weakness please see a medical provider to further evaluate your condition as more severe conditions could be contributing to your issue.
Ok for the rest of us that have tight muscles pinching and irritating things its time to get started.
- Ice - I know we all love heat and it feels good and ice doesn't it feels cold and terrible but hear me out. Ice in short frequent uses can reduce muscle spasm, tightness and tension. It could be just what you need to reduce the pain you've got brewing so give it a try. Apply ice to affected area for 5 minutes, no more than 10 mins then remove cold pack and go about your day. A few hours later do the same and so on for 3-5 sessions. See how it feels and let me know. My clients usually feel better with that cold therapy regimen that a longer one so give it a shot.
- Meditation - I know I know everyone is all about mediation on the web right now but it works. Taking a 10 minute break to quiet your mind can activate your parasympathetic nervous system and kick in the relaxation and calm that fight or flight cycle you're in that is causing you to tense up and get tight.
- Get up and get moving! Go for a walk, a jog, walk up and down your stairs, do jumping jacks! Whatever just get moving. Movement is a good thing our body needs it, Happy hormones, happy endorphins, blood flow!! All the things happen with movement. Maybe you can't run a marathon right now but all of us can move in some capacity even if its starting small. You can do this.
- Smell your favorite smell. Yep Aromatherapy works great at reducing tension. Some smells or essential oils reduce tension by nature it's just how their made but smelling something your love or really enjoy sends those happy feelings out into the world and your body helping you relax tension. Essential oils like Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Rose, Frankincense, Lime, Lemon all can perk ya up. Basil oil and Peppermint are a great combo too for tension and muscle tightness. Just remember if you are going to apply something topically dilute those oils first!!
- Stretch and use a foam roller. Stretching and using a foam roller on the back can help relax those muscles. Just be sure when you are stretching you address the front of you, think Pecs and sides of your trunk not just the place you have pain. Usually neck and upper back tension comes from tight anterior muscles that are "pulling" against the others making them over stretch.
- Activation!! This one is my favorite because it makes the most change long term. Our posterior selves sit a lot. They are weak and have amnesia 😉 it's like many of those muscles forgot what they do. So find some great back and glute (yes activate that butt) activating exercises like Scapular raises, Squats, Supermans and Lat work to activate those babies and see if that doesn't help your pain but also your posture.
Ok that's a lot I know and I promise if you give a few a try you'll feel a little better more often that not. If you don't see your Doc, Massage Therapist or PT and get to it. You deserve to feel good in this life friends and it starts with you taking action.
Would working on a program that encompasses all these tools be helpful? I'm willing to create it and work along side you if it would just let me know! Cheering you on always! 🥳