Neck and shoulder strain is usually experienced by a lot of people especially those working long hours in front of the computer. It is usually brought about by poor posture, sleeping in the wrong position, working for long hours in the office and sudden jerking neck movements.
The common symptoms of neck and shoulder strain are the following:
- Sharp pain in the neck and shoulders
- Numbness of the muscles in the neck and shoulder area
- Change in the temperature of the said body parts.
It is of course important to consult a doctor whenever severe pain is felt on a particular part of the body. However, there are some relaxing exercises for the neck and shoulders that could be done to ease the pain.
10 Best Neck and Shoulder Pain Exercises and Stretches
1. Self Massage
Here is a great self-massage technique that helps you to relieve muscle tensions on the sides of the neck.
To see more videos about relaxing exercises for the neck and shoulders, check out Good Relaxation Videos.
2. Neck stretch
This is an exercise composed of multiple stretches. There are six actions in this exercise; Neck Flexion, Neck Extension, Left Lateral Flexion, Right Lateral Flexion, Left Rotation and Right Rotation.
In Neck Flexion, it involves the movement of the chin to the chest. Slowly lower the neck down to the chest and hold it down for 10-15 seconds. Neck Extension, on the other hand, is the opposite action of Neck Flexion. Lean your head back as far as you can.
In Right Lateral Flexion, slowly tilt the head to the right until your ear reaches the right shoulder. On the other hand, the Left Lateral Flexion would go the other direction. Slowly tilt your head to the left until your ear reaches the left shoulder.
In Right Rotation, rotate your head to the right until your chin reaches the right shoulder. In Left Rotation action, rotate your head to the left until your chin reaches the left shoulder.
You can use these relaxing exercises for neck and shoulders during office break as they would only entail 10-15 seconds per movement.
3. Shoulder Shrugs
As its name suggests, basically all you have to do is shrug your shoulders for 2-5 seconds. Repeat the action for at least 10 repetitions to achieve best results.
This movement relaxes and loosens the strained muscles of the shoulder and the neck. Just like the neck stretch, this type of exercise is perfect for those working in an office as it would not entail much time or even equipment.
4. Arm Stretches
Another one of those relaxing exercises for neck and shoulders is the arm stretches. Simply raise your hands and stretch it out as high as you can. Hold this position for at least 2-5 seconds. Repeat the action for at least 10 times to achieve best results. With this exercise, the muscles on the shoulders are loosened therefore lessening the tension.
5. Shoulder Circles
Raise your shoulders, move them in a circular motion, down and back up. Do the circular motion in reverse direction.
The aforementioned relaxing exercises for neck and shoulders are ideal for office employees while they are at work.
Below are the relaxing exercises for neck and shoulders that are recommended to be done at home as some of the actions would require lying down and other positions. Some of these exercises would also need equipment such as an exercise mat.
6. Forward Fold
For this exercise, stand on a mat with feet apart. Clasp your hands behind your back with your fingers intertwined with each other. Carefully bend forward. While bending forward, raise your hands towards the ceiling.
Hold this position for about 10-15 seconds. Just allow your head to hang low to loosen up the muscles of the neck and shoulder and decrease the tension in those parts of the body.
Slowly bend back to your original position and repeat the process three times.
7. Static Back
For this exercise, you need a mat and a chair or ottoman. Lie on your mat and place your legs on an ottoman or a chair, with your hips flat on the floor and lower legs parallel to the floor. Carefully place your arms on the floor with your palms facing upwards. Retain this position for around 10-15 minutes or as long as you can hold it.
8. Legs up the Wall
Another one of those relaxing exercises for neck and shoulders and back is Legs up the Wall exercise. This exercise would require you to have a mat. Here is the step-by-step instruction on how to take the legs up the wall pose correctly.
9. Body Twist
Lie on your mat with your back against the floor. Cross your right foot over your left foot. Simultaneously, bring your right arm over to the left. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Do the same process on the left side of your body. This exercise would relax the muscles not only on your neck and shoulder but also those of your entire back.
10. Cobra Pose
The Cobra Pose is another one of those relaxing exercises for neck and shoulders that you should do at home. Lie stomach flat on the floor. Place your arms at your sides and slowly push against the floor thus lifting your chest. As you do this, place your tongue on your mouth’s roof to stabilize the neck muscles. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute.
This exercise relaxes not only the muscles of the neck and the shoulders but it also stretches the spine and the other muscles of the back. It also brings forth a certain degree of tension on the arm muscles.
Finally, avoid future strain and pain on your neck and shoulders by allowing yourself to take a break every now and then. Also, refrain from using hard and multiple pillows at night. Always maintain a good posture whether sitting, standing or even lying down. When travelling, use a travel pillow to secure your neck.