Do you ever notice that your shoulders are tight and creeping upwards towards your ears? Almost like you’re trying to make your shoulders replace your earrings? It’s not a good habit and makes your overall posture very tense.
This kind of neck and shoulder tension is a common problem that can be caused by poor posture, stress, and even sleeping in the wrong position. If left unchecked, it can lead to headaches, back pain, and other health issues. The good news is that there are several ways to help.
Try these 4 tips to decrease neck and shoulder tension.
- Adjust your posture
If your head is forward of your shoulders, that’s the weight of a bowling ball pulling on your neck structures. It starts with the alignment of your pelvis. Ensure your sitz bones point down, and everything else above will easily fall into place. Forward head is often a by-product of faulty posture at the computer or while texting. Check your alignment often.
- Shoulder Shrugs
Slowly draw your shoulders toward your ears (preferably on an inhale), then let them melt away from your ears (on the exhale.) This is an excellent way to re-educate the placement of your shoulders on your shoulder girdle in a relaxed manner.
- Shoulder Circles
Circle your shoulders forward, up to your ears, behind you, then let them relax. Repeat that, adding the inhale on the forward and up movement and the exhale on the back and down movement. Move slowly.
When we unknowingly hold our breath, the neck and shoulders are often the first places to accumulate tension. Make breathing a priority. Many of us are shallow chest breathers. We fail to fully expand the lungs and ribs, allowing optimal air passage. With extra muscle tension in our backs and chests typically brought on by poor posture, it is difficult for the lungs to expand fully. Start simple with a 4-count inhale and a 4-count exhale out your mouth as if you’re making bubbles in a class of water through a straw. If that’s challenging, make it a 3-count process instead of 4 counts. Make sure you’re in optimal posture. Over time you can increase the challenge to a 4-count inhale and a 6-count exhale. This will improve your lung capacity and breath awareness, positively affecting your neck and shoulders.
If you do your shoulder shrugs, circles, and breathe, all with attention to excellent posture and alignment, you’ll be on your way to a tension-free neck and shoulders!
Let your earrings live on your ears and allow your shoulders to relax.