I am seeing lots of people this week experiencing neck and shoulders that are either tight or tight and painful while also mentioning stress. Most of us tend to carry stress in our shoulders and neck just like the physical burden it is.
For each patient I have seen with this condition I give them an acupuncture treatment tailored to whatever else is going on followed by a few minutes of gentle Tuina (an Asian form of body work) and all report tremendous relief from shoulder/neck issues.
I also send them home with an easy remedy to help stem some of the cause. It’s easy and free.
First the cause…many of us spend many hours in front of some kind of computer…desktop, laptop, notebook or tablet…working intently. Our backs tend to bend forward as we pull our shoulders and head in to focus on the display and we strain our hands either typing or clutching a mouse. Aside from the eye strain of staring at the well lit screen we aren’t doing our body any favors by holding it in this position while intently working, surfing etc. We are holding our shoulders and hands in positions that strain muscles and ligaments along with restricting our oxygen intake by compressing our chest capacity. Ultimately we are getting less oxygen to the brain because of this which can make our thinking a little sluggish after a period of time; after repeating this for hours and days, we get sore shoulders and necks plus sometimes we experience headaches because those tightened muscles in the neck most likely restrict blood flow and therefore food to the brain.
My remedy? After an hour take a minute or less to take a break and do a few simple things to compensate. Move away from the computer and stand up. Stretch your arms over your head and stretch your fingers out like a fan, bring both arms slowly out and down to your sides while you breathe deeply and let your eyes relax (maybe even close them); then roll your head around a few times both to the left and right to loosen your neck up. If one round doesn’t loosen you up repeat once or twice more. While you are taking this short break try to relax your mind so it can rest as well.
It’s not just at the gym that we need to stretch before and after workouts. We spend far more time in front of our electronic gadget of choice and we need frequent stretching to compensate from these workouts as well…both physical and mental.