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3 easy tips for Relaxing Your Neck & Shoulders

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How is your posture right this minute? Do you worry that your shoulders are starting to round? Have no fear – Help is on the way!

How is your posture right this minute?  Do you worry that your shoulders are starting to round?  Have no fear – Help is on the way!

Many people have stiff neck and shoulders after years of working at computers or sitting at a desk on the phone, or simply working in a high stress job.  After a while, your body forgets how to relax those shoulder muscles and you walk around wearing them as earmuffs.  The connection between your brain and those muscles that used to tell them to relax has been temporarily disconnected.  It’s easier than you think to re-gain that connection.  My motto is, “Retrain Your Body and Regain Your Health”. Here are some simple techniques for retraining your neck and shoulder muscles to relax.

 

1. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your spine long – all the way up through your neck.  Curve the fingers of both hands and place them on your thick shoulder muscles close to the base of your neck.  Gradually apply firm pressure directly on the shoulder muscles.  You may not have realized how tense those muscles were until you begin squeezing them.  Keep your arms relaxed, elbows down and your fingers squeezing the muscles as hard as you can without pain.  Inhale slowly as you arch your back slightly and exhale as you curl your spine, beginning the movement each time with your tailbone so you don’t put any strain on your neck.  Take deep, full inhalations and long slow exhalations, using a 5 count for each.  Continue for 1 minute.  Then rub the shoulders briskly.  Feel the circulation warming your shoulders?  Do this exercise several times a day – once an hour if you’re still sitting at that computer all day and you will be re-training your body to relax.  Ahhhhh…

 

2. Remain in your seated position with your spine long. 

Turn your chin, so you are look over your right shoulder (This is your starting position – facing right).  Inhale and tilt the back of your head backwards toward your left shoulder while at the same time, raising the left shoulder to meet the back of your head.  Squeeze that left shoulder up, then exhale slowly and return head and shoulder to start position, letting your shoulders relax completely.  This is a slow, smooth motion.  After you exhale your shoulder and head back to your starting position, notice how relaxed your shoulder feels.  If it’s not completely relaxed, pause and give it a little attention.  Repeat this movement for two more breaths, remembering to stop at the end of your exhalation and notice the relaxation.  Repeat to the other side for 3 breaths and then notice the difference your shoulders.  Less tense?  Good.  Smile.  You’re on your way!

 

3.  Lay down on your back with knees bent, feet flat, arms relaxed and a few inches away from your body.  Breathe Deeply and count your breaths backwards from 20.  Inhale 20, Exhale 20, Inhale 19, etc.  This neutral position is a perfect place to let your back, neck and shoulders relax.  Spending a few minutes here with your breath will help your body integrate the relaxation techniques you’ve just completed and then you’ll feel more energized and ready for the rest of your day. 

 

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The good news is that with only a few minutes each day of simple muscle stretching, you can break this pattern and end recurring back pain.
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