For various reasons, many of us in modern society put much unnecessary stress on our necks and shoulders. Some of us spend forty hours a week or more sitting at a desk, some spend too many hours slumped in a bad posture in front of the television, and many simply don’t factor in neck muscles when completing a workout.
This can lead to long term health issues and sometimes even chronic pain for the rest of our lives. It is important to regularly move each and every muscle in our bodies, and not just when at the gym. Muscle inactivity leads to a decrease in metabolism and can cause inflammation and suffering.
As a preventative measure, or to deal with the pain itself, we should all practice a range of neck exercises throughout the day, every day, and especially if we spend a long time sitting down. These are designed to reduce compression of the spine and encourage muscles to stretch out, rather than being cardiovascular, so they can be performed anywhere, even at our desks.
Neck rotation is great for getting muscles moving, and is as simple as turning your head to one side and holding the position for a few seconds. The thing to remember here is to do five reps on one side, then five on the other, but not to turn from one side to the other as this can put strain on the muscles.
Another good move is to slowly drop your head forward until your chin rests on your chest, or close to it. This has the added benefit of elongating the upper spine, helping reduce the risk of injuries caused by compression of vertebrae. Reversing this move by tilting the head back on the shoulders to look up at the ceiling is handy for other muscles, but must be done slowly to avoid putting pressure on the spine. Incorporating shoulder rolls and shrugs into your daily routine is also helpful, as pain is rarely localised in one spot.
If you have been performing these exercises for some time without noticeable effect, or if you suffer from a chronic neck problem, there are other techniques which can help. Visualisation is about imagining a safe or happy place and mentally putting yourself there, rather than with the pain. It can take time to learn how to do it properly, but has been proven to be effective. General relaxation begins with proper breathing, and the act of making yourself as comfortable as possible and concentrating on breathing more slowly and deeply should take your mind off the pain you are experiencing.
Ergonomically Designed Seating
If you do work in an office, or at a desk at home, it is vital that you have a well designed chair for support in the neck and lumbar regions. Many furniture sites will have a range of ergonomically designed seating options to take some of the pressure off your problem areas.
This post was provided on behalf of chairoffice.co.uk, the UK’s leading furniture & office chair specialists.