In the modern age we live in, stress is more prevalent than ever. With our days filled up by demanding careers, long work hours and little sleep, it’s no wonder we’re feeling its full effects. Stress-related illnesses are on the rise and without addressing the issue, they will only continue to grow.
The effects of stress are not only linked to serious long-term health complications, like heart disease, diabetes and obesity, but also more immediate symptoms, too. Due to our tendency to hold on to stress, our first signs of it are things like headaches and muscle tension, especially in the neck.
On their own, these symptoms can be enough to hinder your otherwise normal daily life, but left untreated, they can lead to more serious issues.
Neck Tensions!? Learn How To Massage Yourself
One of the easiest and most effective ways of dealing with neck tension is to massage yourself. For all types of neck pain, from mild to moderate, it’s an effective way of relieving tension and relaxing your muscles.
Self-massage is not only effective but simple, too, and doesn’t require any special equipment or even the help of another person. In this way, you can be the judge of how aggressive or gentle you really need to be. You can also massage yourself anytime and anyplace, whenever you feel like the tension is building up.
Learn more: 10 Relaxing Exercises For Neck And Shoulders
How To Massage Your Neck
- If you’re noticing tension, bring your hands up to either side of your neck with your palms facing in. Your fingers should be pointing behind you.
- Raise your chin and allow your head to drop back slightly, allowing for the release of pressure.
- With your hands remaining on your neck, begin tilting your head slowly to the left, using your left hand to gently squeeze the back and left side muscles of the neck.
- Next, tilt your head to the right side, this time using your right hand to gently squeeze the back and right side muscles of the neck.
Slowly move your head from side to side, repeating each squeeze of the neck muscles. If you feel the need to be more aggressive with the squeeze, do so as long as you remain comfortable.
- With each tilt of the head, move your hands slightly upwards to get an effective massage of the full length of the neck.
- When you’re done, remove your hands and place them in your lap. Bring your chin down and drop your head forward, feeling the stretch in the neck.
After massaging yourself, you’ll notice the improvement of mobility in the neck and the increase in blood flow and circulation. If you still feel some tension, don’t hesitate to massage yourself again.
Once you learn this self-massaging technique, you’ll be able to reduce neck tension the moment you begin to feel it. It’s not only effective at reducing tension, but it’s easy, too, and armed with this routine, you’ll be pain-free and ready to face the world.
Learn more: Top 6 Health Benefits Of Self-Massage
What Causes Neck Tensions
If stress isn’t the cause of your neck tension, there are a still many causes that can lead to muscle tension and neck pain, all of which can thankfully be treated with a simple method.
Like the increase in stress in the 21st century, we’re also in the unique position of dealing with physical stressors that our ancestors never had to—if you were to take a look around a busy city street, you’d likely find that a good majority of people were staring down at their smartphones. The act of using a smartphone isn’t inherently bad, however, but it does pose a threat that many tend to overlook: when staring down at your screen, your neck rests at a very unnatural angle.
It isn’t just the use of a smartphone that does this, either. Many tech devices seems to bring with them ergonomically incorrect ways of resting.
If you’re someone who sits at a computer all day, you probably notice its effects on your posture. If you use a laptop placed on your knees or well below eyesight, it’s even worse. Couple that with poorly designed desk chairs and it’s clear why so many suffer from back and neck pain daily.
Learn more: 5 Tips to Sit Properly at Work
Over-Performance & Physical Stress
Another stressor and cause of neck tension that we continually subject ourselves too is overdoing it in the gym.
The desire to overwork our bodies to achieve a certain appearance is nothing new, but there’s never been more outlets available than there are now to do so, each one touting themselves to be “the way” to the perfect body. Ironically, it’s the pursuit of the perfect body that actually throws it out of alignment.
Constant and intense over-exercise, paired with a poor diet, typically low in calories and unable to address the body’s need for nutrients after the workout, are actually having the opposite effects on people. Though they may be thinner, their health has been compromised and it begins to show in things like neck tension and headaches and an increase in stress.
These things are only amplified when the exercises are performed incorrectly—in an attempt to lift more, jump higher and run faster, proper form and safety is sacrificed and the results can be harmful.
So, when you are feeling neck tensions, try to ideantify the cause and then massage yourself. By eliminating the cause of your neck tensions and practicing self-massage, you save yourself from a lot of pain.