We all have it – after sitting at the computer finishing a project, receiving bad news, or just a hard workout, that feeling that the sides of our neck are getting shorter! But it’s not that our neck is getting shorter; instead, our shoulders are tensing, particularly the levator scapulae muscles that attach our shoulder blades to our neck and can cause neck pain.
Our breathing patterns change when we are under stress. Breaths shorten and become more shallow, and rather than breathing from our diaphragm, we begin to breath from our upper chest and shoulders.This places undue stress on those shoulder muscles and quickly tires them to overuse. Test yourself right now: are you tensing your shoulders as you sit at your computer?Can you relax, depress your shoulder blades, release some tension, and breath more into your diaphragm? How does that feel?
This pattern of tension leads to an overdevelopment of the trapezius and levator scapulae muscles and hikes them up to our ears.Bringing conscious awareness to our bodies during our activities can help to decrease tension and keep it away.Put a sign on your computer or work station, or in your car that says, “RELAX”.Eventually, the pattern of relaxation will take over for the pattern of tension!
Keeping the shoulders supple prevents other shoulder problems such as rotator cuff injuries, bursitis, tendonitis, and arthritis from developing.For a Quick-Fix, try this shoulder rolling move from the blog I posted earlier this week. You can see more shoulder exercises in the Yoga Tune Up® Quick Fix Video here. In addition, bring some massage therapy products into your regular routine for neck pain relief. I recommend the Upper Back and Neck Series using the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls which you can find here.