Nearly everyone experiences some sort of tension in their head and neck. Stress and anxiety are typically the biggest culprits. However, staring at computer and tv screens all day is quickly becoming an issue as well. Here are the top 5 ways you can relieve neck tension without medication!
It’s important to get control of your stress levels. That means you’ll have to focus on emotional and physical stress. Physical stress can be considered things like falling, accidents, or even hitting your head as you’re getting out of the car. Both types of stress can actually influence one another. For instance, too much emotional stress can increase your physical stress and vice versa.
You may not even realize that you’re experiencing physical stress. Take a second to unclench your jaw, lower your shoulders and take a deep breath. Force yourself to take a break from your work or whatever is demanding your time and focus. Give your tight muscles room to relax and unwind. Find things that help you find some bliss, like listening to music or meditating.
There’s a reason experts recommend breathing exercises. Especially if you’re trying to manage your stress. They work. You might not be into meditation, and that’s ok. Simply taking a second to focus on your breathing can calm your body and brain. More importantly, it takes you out of that fight-or-flight feeling that can often lead to tension. Beyond that, you can reduce blood pressure, improve circulation, and reduce cortisol levels through breathing exercises.
Try deeply breathing in for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and then release for 8 seconds. This rhythmic breathing exercise allows you to focus and control your breathing. You’ll quickly feel the tension from your head, neck, and shoulders begin to lessen.
Alternate Your Posture
Staying in one position all day is never good. regardless if you’re sitting or standing. Unfortunately, most modern working areas encourage poor posture. For instance, your computer monitor may be too low. As a result, this can make you hunch your neck, putting stress on your spine and even affecting your nerves. Similarly, maybe your mouse is too far forward. This leads to overextending, which, after a long period of time, can cause shoulder and neck tension.
A lot of daily activities require you to be focused forward. For example, sitting at your desk, looking at your phone, and even driving, to name a few. Without strengthening exercises to counteract this poor posture, you’re bound to get some sort of neck tension. Try alternating between standing and sitting every 30 minutes. Click here to learn more about preventing pain while working at your desk. Set a timer for yourself if you need to. Switching things up will help alleviate neck tension and promote good posture.
Stretch Your Neck
Similar to changing postures, you should also stretch your stiff neck and shoulder muscles. Start by sitting up straight in your chair. Sit on your left hand to anchor your shoulder. Next, tilt your head to the right. Use your right hand to gently pull the top of your head closer to your right shoulder. You should feel the stretch on your left side increase. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat 3 more times. Switch to the other side and repeat.
You can also do a similar stretch while still in a seated position. Start by tipping your head down and to the side, so your nose is pointed toward your right armpit. Next, gently pull the top of your head toward your shoulder with your right hand. You should feel a stretch in the back of your neck and spine. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat 3 more times. Switch to the other side and repeat.
Do A Gentle Massage
This may seem like a no-brainer, but giving yourself a massage is an easy way to relieve built-up neck tension. Gently rub the tops of your shoulders, all the way up towards your neck and the base of your head. Use your palms to massage the sides of your jaw. This is especially nice if you clench your teeth most of the day. You can even use a heating pack to loosen your muscles beforehand.
It’s important to make time to relieve your aches, pains, stiffness, and tension. Neck tension can lead to bigger issues if you don’t get it under control. Not only can it lead to pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms, but it can cause numbness and burning in the arms and hands as well. It can also make existing conditions worse, like high blood pressure and migraines.