Tips on Relieving Neck and Shoulder Pain / by Casey Warner

A significant majority of our clients come to us complaining about neck and shoulder pain. With the lives we lead in our society which are heavy with time on the computer or phone and driving in the car, as well as ridiculously high stress levels, it’s not shocking those are the most common problem areas.

Soon, I hope to add a video showing stretches that are very helpful in correcting the imbalance in our neck and shoulder muscles that leads to the pain most people are feeling. In the meantime, here are some tips:

  • When sitting at the computer, take a 5min break every hour to get up, walk around, hydrate with water and stretch.

  • Try alternating sitting and standing with a standing desk.

  • When looking at your phone, hold your phone up in front of your face instead of looking down at it.

  • When driving, make sure the back of your head is touching the headrest to keep you from sitting with your head forward.

  • Ideally, your sleep position is laying on your back with a very thin pillow and a pillow under your knees if needed. This is the most neutral position for you muscles, it allows them to heal and balance while you are sleeping.

  • If you haven’t been able to sleep on your back, try laying on your back with something with weight on your torso, ie a folded quilt, pillow or weighted blanket. This gives the sense of security stomach and side sleepers need in order to fall asleep.

  • If you’re a side sleeper and you tried the above recommendation but still can’t manage to fall asleep on your back, there is a way to minimize the effects on your body from sleeping on your side. First, use a medium thickness pillow under your head and make sure your head and neck are inline with your spine, as opposed to curling in forward like as in fetal position. Next, hug a pillow between your arms and legs, use two separate ones if you don't have a body pillow. Having the pillow(s) between your limbs reduces the amount of stress put on the muscles, tendons and joints.

  • Lastly, sleep is the most important thing! If some nights you just have to lay on your stomach to fall asleep then do so. Your body and mind need the healing and rejuvenation, every night, that sleep provides.

Of course, a deep tissue massage is perfect for getting those angry muscles to loosen up, giving you a head start to their unraveling. It’s entirely possible to come in one time, get those muscles worked on, follow the tips above and do the stretches the therapist shows you daily and that’s that. However, many times it takes more than one time for the muscles to sufficiently relax. Many clients come in regularly to keep the neck and shoulders in check or are able to keep them in check via the stretching/positioning and come in for maintenance relaxation to keep the stress from effecting their otherwise balanced muscles. Whichever protocol fits where you are at, we are more than happy to help you figure that out and get you to a state free of pain. <3

Love & Light,