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5 Alternative Ways to Reduce Neck and Shoulder Tension

Don’t know where to turn to relieve the tight knots up and down your neck and across your shoulders? Perhaps you want to try a few more at-home remedies before you go to a doctor or a massage therapist? Neck pain is a common ailment today, so first of all, you are not alone. While none of the methods described below can replace a visit to the doctor due to chronic pain, these activities can give you some relief.

1. Go ‘sans phone’ for a day

Ever wondered where your neck tension comes from? A study in Sweden says that it happens when you tilt your head to look at your phone. Or at least, that’s just one possible cause. Any contraction of the muscles along the neck causes pressure on the upper vertebrae, which is that neck tension you feel. Simple solution? Put your phone down for the day. Consider it a day to unplug from technology. Go for a walk. Talk to someone face to face. Do some gardening. You might feel so relaxed afterwards that you make it a once-a-week ritual.

2. Try a portable massager

Feeling hesitant about going to a massage therapist to work the kinks out of your shoulders? Instead, why not get a massager medical professionals also use that you can use at home? At less than the price of the average therapist massage session, you are getting a better deal. The benefits of getting a massage are an enhanced immune system and better blood flow, not to mention that you will experience almost immediate relief from your neck and shoulder pain.

 3. Take a yoga classes

Limbering up and stretching is almost the next best thing to a massage. Yoga helps to stretch out stiff or cramped muscles, while also increasing blood flow throughout your body. While you are stretching, you are not hunched over your phone or staring at a computer screen, which are other common causes for neck tension. Yoga is also known to relieve stress, which is another common neck tension culprit. But that’s not all. You also get:

  • improved flexibility
  • enhanced muscle tone and strength
  • better weight management
  • cardio workout
  • greater stamina

4. Use a sports rub

While there is some question over the science behind sports rubs, users continue to claim that such pain-relief creams work. Sports rubs are also known as muscle rubs, or pain-relief creams. When used on sore or tense muscles, they cause a cooling or numbing effect that brings quick release from pain. If you feel anxious about what chemicals could be in a muscle rub, organic options are also available. Or you could try your hand at making your own homemade muscle relaxant. While this does not solve tension at the source, if you need relief immediately, you may want to try it out.

5. Drink more water

One cause of neck pain could be a lack of water. Consider this: Our spinal discs consist of 80% water when we are born, but then we lose this as we age. Also, the space between each disc requires water to maintain. If you aren’t drinking enough water, you will feel this strain on your dehydrated discs. The solution is simple: drink more water. Make it a habit to carry a bottle of water around with you throughout the day and top the bottle up when it gets low. A bonus benefit to drinking more water is that it is known to be an excellent way to control your hunger if you are watching your weight.

With the rise in gadgets and mobile devices, staying away from screens and things that cause you to hunch forward can feel like fighting a losing battle. But with just a couple of counter habits in place, you will be doing your part to maintain good neck and shoulder health.

About Francesca Stregapede

After pursuing a degree in Psychology, I further explored the relationship between neurochemistry and behaviour in a Masters in Brain Imaging and Cognitive neuroscience. I write about various areas of Psychology as well as articles at the interface between Neuroscience and Nutrition as I believe that nutrition has a huge impact not only on our physical wellbeing but also on our psychological states.

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