Pain in the neck? These 3 yoga poses can help.
Let’s face it, life is busy from left to right and top to bottom. We all have work, family, finances, health, and technology “must do’s,” which are literally a pain in the neck.
– Awkward posturing: Also known as forward head posture, this is probably the biggest cause of neck pain for most of us. Whether sitting or standing, we have a tendency to hunch over, especially when we type or text. Forward head posture happens when the neck slants forward placing the head in front of the shoulders. If we sustain this position for a long period of time it can lead to other complications such as degenerative disk disease, and upper back and shoulder pain.
– Stress: Stress increases cortisol levels in our body. Cortisol is our “stress hormone.” High and prolonged levels of cortisol traveling through our body lead to fatigue and tension. We carry that tension in our neck and shoulders.
– Poor Breathing: The diaphragm is our primary breathing muscle. It is a thin, wide sheet of muscle that separates the rib cage from the abdomen. Unfortunately, most people don’t use their diaphragm to breathe, they use their upper chest and throat muscles, which are known as secondary breathing muscles and are not built for routine respiration. Make sure you are “breathing with your belly” to avoid overworking or injuring neck muscles and contributing to more pain.
Minimize your neck pain by completing these 3 yoga poses
– Seated Backbend: Seated with a straight back and hands resting on your thighs, take a deep breath in and expand your chest to the ceiling. As you exhale, let your head naturally drop behind you. Use your inhale breath to bring your head back to neutral and relax on the exhale. Repeat as needed.
– Supported Forward Fold: While sitting, place your hands flat on your desk shoulder distance apart. Slowly start walking your hands up toward the top of your desk. You may have to push your chair back a little bit. Gently start positioning your head in between your arms with a straight neck. Hold for as long as it feels good to your body. Slowly walk your hands back and carefully roll up to a sitting position. Please be VERY careful if you have an office chair with wheels, as they can easily fall!
-– Neck muscles are so delicate and tender, please don’t overstretch. Complete movements and transitions slowly to prevent any unnecessary muscle “pulling.”
– Dress in layers: I know this sounds silly, but being cold usually results in shoulder shrugging, which will eventually cause neck pain. Bring a scarf or extra sweater to the office. This is such an easy fix!
– Check your pillow: Make sure your pillow is supportive enough. Avoid pillows that are too thick or too flat for your neck size.
– Take breaks from technology: Minimize the amount of time you spend on your computer or cell phone after work hours. Try to at least take time to practice the stretches above to give your neck a rest.
Yours in Health,