If you work in front of a screen, you may experience neck pain at the end of the day. Often, this pain can go down to the shoulder muscles (trapezius muscles in particular) and become really bad. However, as you may already know, stopping moving this area of the body when you are in pain is not the best thing to do. On the contrary, stretching the cervical and upper body muscles can help to relieve the pain and gradually return you to a normal state. For this, yoga is an ideal activity to practice. The postures can allow you to create mobility in this area of your body, while being gentle. Are you looking to relieve your neck pain? It's a good time to do so! Today, I propose several yoga exercises to relieve neck and shoulder pain.
Some advice before practicing yoga to relieve your neck pain
We've all felt discomfort or stiffness in the back of our necks... Whether it's because of a long day at work, a prolonged sitting position or after a bad night's sleep. Indeed, it is frequent that neck pains point the tip of their nose one day or another. Cervical stiffness, throbbing pain, pulling sensations in the shoulders, you certainly know this phenomenon...
So, I am sharing below some yoga exercises and postures to help you relieve this area. However, it is important to remember that this type of neck stretching must be practiced gently, always being aware of your limits. In addition, this article deals with mild neck pain, usually occurring at the end of the day. In the case of more intense pain (torticollis or cervical osteoarthritis for example), these exercises are not recommended and it is best to opt for a medical consultation. Finally, in the case of neck pain after a shock or if you suffer from a serious pathology (cervical hernia for example), do not perform these exercises, which could aggravate your symptoms. In any case, ask your doctor for advice before considering the following postures.
The benefits of yoga for the neck and shoulders
Yoga always combines movement with breathing. In the case of neck pain, this will help oxygenate the muscles and circulate your energy to all areas of the body. This practice will therefore help you to reduce cervical stiffness. On the other hand, yoga consists of gentle movements and stretching, which helps to maintain movement in this area and reduce tension. Nevertheless, yoga is not a magic recipe. Therefore, these exercises should be practiced consciously, while also reviewing your lifestyle habits. For example:
- Think about adopting a posture adapted to your back and our neck at your workplace.
- Pay attention to your position when you sleep. For example, sleeping on your stomach is not physiological and often leads to spinal problems. In addition, the position of your pillow is very important to limit this type of pain.
- Finally, if your pains are frequent, consult a professional (physiotherapist, doctor, osteopath) who can advise you on how to avoid them or even prescribe additional tests.
In addition, to avoid neck pain, it is preferable to adopt a regular yoga practice. The benefits will be all the more important.
Cervical stretching: which yoga postures to relieve cervical pain?
Sitting on your mat in a suit, start by performing slow, gentle movements by drawing a yes with your head, then a no. Respect your limits and breathe deeply during each movement. Inhale, look to the left, exhale, return to the center. Inhale, look to the right and when you exhale, return to the center. Then start drawing a small circle with your nose. Do this exercise several times, one way and then the other. Don't forget to breathe. If you don't feel any pain, gradually increase the size of the circle.
An alternative to this exercise is to draw only half a circle forward. This starting at your left shoulder and working your way to the right. Repeat several times. If you can, then draw a smaller full circle while continuing to breathe.
Other stretching exercises for the cervical spine and trapezoids
Neck Yoga Position: Sit on your mat with your legs bent in front of you. Place your feet flat on the mat with your knees looking up to the sky. Here, place both of your hands with your fingers crossed at the back of your head. Your two elbows are in front of your face. Inhale here, and as you exhale, push your head forward between your two knees to stretch your shoulders and neck. The elbows should be as close together as possible, except in case of pain of course.
Upper Body Stretch: Sit back in your suit on your mat. Your two arms are on each side of your bust, about a foot away from your body. As you breathe in, raise your right arm up to the sky, sticking to your right ear and bend to the left. You can bend your left arm on the floor for a better stretch. Breathe deeply, and reproduce this posture on the other side.
Trapeze Stretch: Next, return to the initial sitting position with both arms on each side of your mat. Here, with your right arm, grab your left ear and gently bend your head to the left. Your left arm will move a little more to the right with your fingertips for a more intense stretch. It can also stay in the same place. Breathe in and stay there for a few seconds before continuing the exercise to the left.
Cervical Stretch: While sitting or standing, place both hands crossed at the back of your back. Here, bring both hands to the right with your elbows pointing to the back of the mat. Gently tilt your head to the left. Next, bring both hands crossed to the left, and gently tilt your head to the right. This posture can be tricky if you have neck pain, so adjust it according to your feelings and symptoms.
Neck and shoulder yoga postures
The stretched child: Sit on your mat, directly on your lap. Put your buttocks on your heels. From this position, lie forward with both arms far in front of you on the mat. Lie with your stomach and chest on your knees, resting your forehead on the mat. Your feet are completely relaxed on the floor, your thighs may be slightly open. Breathe in here.
The eagle: Place your two outstretched arms in front of each other, on the same line as your shoulders, palms up. Cross your arms by passing your right arm over your lower left arm. Bend your elbows, and try to make your hands join either back to back or palm to palm. Breathe deeply here and gently raise your elbows upwards to open the shoulder area. Do the same on the other side by passing your left arm over your right arm. This posture allows you to stretch the upper back deeply. It helps reduce neck pain by creating more space in the neck area.
The Threaded Needle: On all fours on your mat, raise your left hand to the sky and pass it under your bust, between your right arm and your bust. Your left arm rests on your mat, left shoulder on the floor. Place your face turned to the left on the floor. The rest of your body should keep the same position. If you are comfortable with this position, place your right arm stretched out a little more forward or raise it towards the sky.
Have you done those cervical and shoulder stretching exercises? Do not hesitate to share with me in comments the ones that were the most useful for you in order to relieve your cervical pain. In any case, don't forget that your body doesn't talk to you for no reason. Your neck pain is therefore a good opportunity to take care of yourself and to listen to you a little more.