Stress within the neck and shoulders from worry: 5 house treatments

The areas where you are likely to experience stress or anxiety-related tension are on your neck and shoulders. This can lead to chronic pain and other health problems over time.

Fortunately, muscle tension in the neck and shoulders responds well to stretching, yoga, relaxation, and other methods of managing stress.

Let’s examine some simple techniques that can help you relieve tension in your neck and shoulders, as well as some stress management strategies that can help calm your mind and body.

Sometimes when you experience a stressful event or a fit of anxiety, your muscles contract a lot. This is an automatic or reflex response. It is known as the stress response or the “fight or flight” response.

In this way, your body prepares for a perceived physical threat that you must fight back or run away from. In addition to muscle tension, you may notice other physical symptoms when you are stressed or anxious, such as:

  • a fast heart rate
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • cold skin
  • sweat

Although your body’s stress response is supposed to help you deal with physical threats, your body reacts in the same way when the threat is not physical. Your muscles can tense up when stuck in a traffic jam, dealing with pressure at work, or watching the news.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), your muscles and other organs cannot relax until the perceived threat has passed.

If the stress persists – meaning the stressful situation does not seem to have a clear ending – your body may remain in an increased state of preparedness to face a threat. As a result, your muscles may stay tense and tense for much longer than necessary.

According to the APA, persistent muscle tension in the neck and shoulders can lead to more serious problems like back and shoulder pain, body aches, as well as migraines and tension headaches.

Preventing stress-related neck and shoulder tension is not always easy, especially in today’s busy world. However, there are techniques and strategies that can help relieve muscle tension and relieve pain and discomfort.

Here are five stretches and poses that you can do every day to help relieve tension and tension in your neck and shoulders.

The neck stretch is a deep stretch that releases tension in the neck and improves your freedom of movement.

  1. Stand with your left arm by your side.
  2. Place your right hand on top of your head with your fingers facing left.
  3. Gently pull your head to the right until you feel a stretch in the left side of your neck.
  4. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and return to center.
  5. Repeat on the left.
  6. Do 2 to 3 times on each side.

Neck release is a gentle method to relieve tension in the shoulders and neck.

  1. Stand with both arms by your side.
  2. Lower your head and bring your chin toward your chest.
  3. Gently tilt your head to the right and pause for 30 seconds. You should feel a stretch in the left side of your neck.
  4. Bring your head back to the center and raise it to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this process before switching sides.
  6. Do 3 to 5 times on each side.

Children’s pose, or balasana, is a well-known yoga pose that can help relieve neck and back pain. It’s also a gentle stretch that will help you relax.

  1. With palms flat on the floor, wrists under your shoulders, and knees under your hips, get on your hands and knees.
  2. Sit back on your heels, extend your spine, and walk your hands in front of you. Make sure you hang by your hips.
  3. Fold forward and keep your arms stretched out in front of you.
  4. Hold this position for 60 to 90 seconds. Focus on your breath as you relieve tension in your neck and shoulders.
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  6. Do this 2 to 3 times.

The Kitty, or Chakravakasana, is a yoga pose that allows you to stretch your back, torso, and neck to help release tension in these areas.

  1. With palms flat on the floor, wrists under your shoulders, and knees under your hips, get on your hands and knees.
  2. Inhale and move into the cow pose. Drop your stomach towards the mat and raise your chin and chest. Look up at the ceiling. Open your chest and shoulders. Pause for a few seconds.
  3. Exhale and move into the Cat Pose. Pull your stomach towards your spine and curve your back towards the ceiling. You should be looking down at the mat. Pause for a few seconds.
  4. Inhale and return to cow pose and repeat the sequence.
  5. Do it 10 to 12 times.

Threading the needle is a stretch that helps relieve tension in the back, neck and shoulders.

  1. With palms flat on the floor, wrists under your shoulders, and knees under your hips, get on your hands and knees.
  2. Slide your right hand (palm up) on the floor toward the left side of your body. Your body rotates with movement, and your right shoulder hits the floor when you look to the left. Use your left hand to support your weight.
  3. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds and return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat on the left.
  5. Do 2 to 3 times on each side.

Yoga is an excellent activity for relieving stress-related tension in the neck and shoulders. In fact, one study found that 9 weeks of yoga resulted in pain relief and functional improvements in people with neck pain.

There are also a few other strategies you can use to relieve or prevent tension in the neck. For example you can:

  • Apply a warm compress to the narrow area.
  • Spend a few minutes giving yourself a massage.
  • Soak in a warm tub and add a few drops of aromatic oil for extra relaxation.
  • Adjust your workstation so that your computer is at eye level to avoid straining your neck.
  • Check your posture while at your desk – keep your hips, shoulders, and ears in a straight line.
  • Get up and step away from your workstation for a few minutes every hour.
  • Use a pillow at night that provides good neck support and keeps your head and neck in line.

We all experience stress. It’s almost impossible not to feel anxious or stressed out at some point. But just like your body automatically reacts to stress, it also has a built-in system to calm you down.

Known as the Relaxation Response, it helps you recover from the “fight or flight” response. It brings all of your systems back to normal and brings your body back to a calm state of rest. The relaxation response also protects your body from health problems related to the stress response.

There are a variety of skills and strategies you can use to activate the relaxation response. Here are some of them:

Stress Management Skills

  • Exercise and physical activity. Moving your body for even 20 minutes a day can help reduce overall stress and relieve tension in your muscles. If you can, go outside and take a brisk walk in nature.
  • Breathing exercises. Abdominal breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, is one of the easiest ways to relax. Voluntary control of your breathing can signal your entire body to relax. When you breathe in the abdomen, you breathe in deeply through your nose so your stomach can expand and exhale through your mouth. Once you know how to breathe this way, you can often use this skill to help you relax.
  • Yoga. According to the National Center for Complementary and Inclusive Health, physical and mental exercises like yoga can help reduce stress, reduce anxiety, and increase your overall wellbeing. If you are new to yoga, you can start with a 10-minute restorative yoga session.
  • Meditation. Research has shown that practicing meditation can help decrease the inflammatory response caused by stress, as well as reducing anxiety. Start with 5 minutes of meditation at a time and increase this by a few minutes each week.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). According to a 2013 study, PMR may help relieve symptoms of chronic neck pain. To do PMR, simply contract each muscle group in your body individually and hold them down for 5 seconds. As you exhale, relax the muscles for 10 to 20 seconds before moving on to the next muscle group.

Remember, as with any new skill, regular practice is key. These practices may not work for you right away, and that’s fine. But as you use them over time, you will likely find that they help get your body into a calmer, calmer state.

Tension and tension in the neck and shoulders are a common symptom of stress and anxiety. This is part of the way your body prepares to survive a perceived physical threat. In other words, it is part of the “fight or flight” stress response.

Fortunately, the muscle tension in your neck and shoulders responds well to various techniques, including targeted stretching, yoga, and other relaxation methods.

However, if the pain in your neck or shoulders is severe, or doesn’t get better with stretching or other self-care techniques, see your doctor.

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