If you’re anything like me and hold your stress and tension in your neck and shoulder muscles, I’m sure you’re feeling the effects of the state of the world at the moment. And all you want to know is what you can do to ease the tightness and soreness!

Let’s start by looking at why your neck and shoulders tighten when you’re stressed.

Understanding the Impact of Stress on Neck and Shoulder Muscles

The main culprit is the trapezius muscle. It connects from the base of your skull to the tip of your shoulder, back in, and down to the middle of your back.















Stress and poor posture can cause this muscle to overexert and become tight as you tend to scrunch your shoulders up rather than keeping them in the relaxed state they are meant to rest.

There are also a few tiny (but essential) muscles that connect the top of your neck to the skull, which also tighten up with stress and poor posture. When tight, these muscles can compress the nerves travelling from the brain and cause other symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea.














So what can you do when you feel these muscles getting tight?

Effective Strategies for Relieving Neck Pain

The simple response is to relax, which is easier said than done! Here are some strategies that can help:

Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation is a great way to try to decrease stress and, in turn, reduce muscular tension through your neck and shoulders. My go-to is Mindfulness Meditation. By focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment, you can cultivate a sense of calm and relaxation.

Walking and Physical Activity

Another way to reduce stress is to get out for a walk or run. Especially at this time when you’re not necessarily able to do the things you enjoy, getting out in the fresh air has done wonders for my mental health!

The Comfort of Heat Packs

My heat pack is my best friend! I have multiple lying around the house (out of reach from my Cat, of course!) Heat is excellent for reducing tightness and tension in muscles. It is also soothing for the body – especially in the middle of winter!

The Benefits of Regular Stretching

The neck muscles respond well to stretching at regular intervals throughout the day. Neck stretches, pectoral stretches, and shoulder rolls are some practical exercises that can provide relief. Holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds and performing them 3-5 times daily can help ease the tension.

Here’s a quick guide on how you can perform these stretches safely and effectively:

Neck Stretches:

  • Sit on a chair and tilt your ear toward your shoulder on one side.
  • For a more substantial stretch, grip the underside of the chair with the hand on the side you are stretching to anchor that shoulder down.
  • To target a different portion of the muscle, you can also turn your head, looking down toward the opposite shoulder.
  • Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and perform this 3-5 times daily.

Pectoral Stretch:

  • Stand in front of a doorway with the shoulder and elbow on the side you want to stretch up in a 90-degree position. Your forearm should be against the doorframe.
  • Step forward with the same side leg, feeling the stretch through the front of your chest.
  • Hold this position for 20-30 seconds and perform 3-5 times daily.

    Shoulder Rolls:

    • You can perform this stretch while sitting or standing.
    • With your arms by your sides, roll your shoulders backwards in a circular motion.
    • Continue this motion for 5-6 repetitions and perform 3-5 times daily.

    Incorporating these stretches into your daily routine can help relieve tension and tightness in your neck and shoulders. Remember to perform them slowly and calmly, focusing on proper form and breathing. Consistency is critical to achieving optimal results and maintaining neck and shoulder health.

    Addressing Poor Posture

    Poor posture can contribute to neck pain and tension. Making an effort to maintain good posture can alleviate strain on your neck and shoulder muscles. Addressing and improving your posture will play a significant role in relieving neck pain.

    The Importance of Regular Treatment

    Finally, and probably most importantly, having regular treatment to maintain my body (Yes, the Osteopath needs an Osteopath too!) Monthly treatments work well for my body to deal with the physical nature of the profession, but different bodies have different needs. So speak to your Healthcare Professional today to see the best treatment course for you!

    Neck Pain Treatment At Healing Hands Osteopathy

    Here at Healing Hands Osteopathy in Croydon and Ferntree Gully, we understand the impact that neck pain can have on your daily life. Our dedicated osteopaths and remedial massage therapists are here to provide you with the care and support you need to find relief from your neck pain. Make a booking with us today and have your neck pain sorted!