Mysterious neck and shoulder pain. Where it can come from, how to relieve it and how to treat it.
Check your p.s.i.
That stiff and sore neck! Sitting in morning traffic.Unable to turn my head left or right to any great degree. I feel like a stuck robot. And when I try to turn, there’s that dart of PAIN. Neck and shoulder feels tight and sore. Feels like a headache is coming on. Where did this come from? Felt fine yesterday. Just seem to have woken up with it. Maybe I slept awkward. How am I going to get through the day with this?This pain has me exhausted already and I cant think clear or straight with it. This is the second time this has happened in recent months. What is going on and how can I get this sorted?
If this is scenario sounds familiar your’e not alone. Many of us can suffer from debilitating neck and shoulder pain that is wearing, annoying and draining. Painkillers, rest and sometimes heat can help alleviate the symptoms but take a look at factors that may be giving rise to it in the first place.
POSTURE- Our heads weigh about the same as a bowling ball. When it sits squarely on top of our shoulders, balanced it feels weightless. But with neck pain we feel that weight and its difficult just to hold it up. We find we need to support our head with our hands or a headrest or cushion. And its an effort, painful and draining.
So just now note just now how balanced is your head on your shoulders now? Is it a little forward maybe? Driving, T.V, computer screens and phones cause us to tilt our “bowling balls” too far forward causing tension to build up at times unconsciously in the muscles in our neck.
Often as compensation for this the muscles in our upper back and shoulders compensate and tighten to counter the forward pull of our heavy imbalanced head. This can lead to those sore achy shoulders we find we are rubbing and massaging at the end of the day. Low grade tension in these muscles can lead to headaches as these muscles that attach to the base of our skull fatigue with overwork. This area is often where we find ourselves pressing or rubbing for relief.
STRESS. Ever notice when feeling under pressure of time, running late, or having things to do how your body responds? A deadline looms or a problem has to be sorted- we go into fight or flight mode. In this alert mode blood and energy gets divert to the muscles so we can fight our opponent or flee from the bear at the cave door. That is how the body is designed.The problem is this opponent can be that deadline, or stalling traffic, or a work or home issue that is creating the stress.It’s obvious that we cant run away from the traffic congestion or fight the irate customer. But our bodies still react by tightening or bracing.It is often the shoulders and neck, sometimes the facial and jaw muscles. Repeated or prolonged tension means we literally do get ‘Uptight”. And over the course of a few days our shoulders tend to almost imperceptibly creep up to our ears as our necks almost shorten and compress in this protective mode. This leads to reduced circulation and drainage and is a recipe for that neck pain and tension headache and energy drain.
INJURY. Maybe it was a tip in the car, or a tackle or fall on the playing field. Or maybe it was simply lifting the shopping into the car after rushing in the rain.Or holding the baby whilst trying to fold the buggy. Or leaning over putting the child into the car seat. Or pulling something out of the top shelf in the wardrobe when you felt a slight twinge of strain or pain in the moment. It may have been in your neck or back. But we carry on regardless, thinking nothing of it. Whilst our bodies are usually robust, repeated minor physical pulls or injuries, exacerbated by emotional stress can cause small strains that build up over time, ratcheting up to a point when that achy neck or shoulder cries “Enough!” and gives out in pain.
So if we wake one morning with a creak, stiffness or pain in our neck we have a better insight to where it may have come from. Some simple tips to avoid it in the first place
POSTURE- Start noticing how is your head sitting on your shoulders. If it is imbalanced simply bring it to a position where it sits even and balanced so there is no excess tension or strain. Squeeeeeze your shoulders up to your ears tightly and then exhale whilst letting them go to release any built up tensions. Repeat this a few times. Take times during the day to stretch your neck and shoulders to mitigate against tension creeping in and building up.
STRESS- Take time to BREATHE. Often when stressed we tighten up our shoulders and necks and forget to breathe deeply. The very muscles we use to expand our ribs get tight and makes it more challenging to gat a full breath of air in.
Do the exercises outlined above and take several deep breaths ensuring your tummy expands so you know you’re breathing deep into the bottom of your lungs.
Get out of any feeling of overwhelm by focussing on what one thing you can do in this moment- regaining a sense of control and ease. S-L-O-W down. Often we rush unnecessarily and get wound up physically as well as mentally in the process. The breathing exercise also helps bring our mind and body back into the moment. It is when we are often rushing and unconscious that injury and mishaps occur
INJURY- Rest and time helps healing. But don’t put off considering having some treatment that can rebalance and realign the joints, muscles and ligaments in your body. It is well worth the investment. Your body will thank you for it. Too often we can service and look after our cars more than out bodies! Corrective treatment can ease your pain, restore proper movement and function, release tension and strain and give you back your energy.
Do these and feel head and shoulders above the rest!
Hope this was helpful! Feel free to contact me if I can be of further help to you.
Derek Plunkett 087 869 1231