Quick Relief For Neck & Shoulders
Note: Much of this is excerpted from my new book Healthy Shoulders: A Primer For Strengthening & Stretching available now for your iPad or Mac. Click through to find out more, read a sample and purchase the eBook.
Feeling overwhelmed, heavy-hearted, lonely or taking on too much responsibility can leave us feeling like we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Between that and the countless hours we spend hunched over a computer, it’s no wonder we often feel pain and stress in our shoulders and neck.
For most people there is a misalignment of the shoulders rounding forward, the head bowing and the chest collapsing in or down (or both…). Moving our shoulders back and opening the chest is vital to healthy alignment. It makes it easier to breathe by giving the lungs more room; deeper breath always equals more calm within. It balances the weight of the head above the spine and puts the support in the bigger muscles of the upper back, rather than the smaller muscles of the neck. It also cultivates confidence from good posture!
Here is one of my favorite practices to bring relief to the neck and shoulders, and even the hands and wrists. Try it the next time you do yoga, when you’re traveling (those small seats are so cramped!) or when you need a break from the computer.
- Stand with your right side about two feet from a wall.
- Reach your right arm back and place your hand on the wall at about shoulder height or a little higher.
- Straighten your arm, spread your fingers and palm and press your hand firmly into the wall. (Variation: Go palm up with pinky finger against the wall).
- Lift your chest and position your head back in line with your spine.
- As your chest and arm opens, turn your body slightly away from the wall.
- Roll your shoulder back to deepen the stretch.
- Release slowly and take a moment to feel the effects of the stretch.
- Turn around and repeat with your left arm against the wall.