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Shoulder Neck Pain? 5 Ways to Cope with a Lack of Support

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Your neck and shoulders are there to provide support to your head. However, it is possible to develop arthritic conditions in your neck or shoulders. For instance, your shoulder can become frozen, generally due to injury or inflammation of tissues. This results in very limited mobility in your shoulder and arm, as well as pain that grows worse with movement. Often, a lack of support is due to weak muscles and tendons in the neck and shoulder areas and can prevent sleep, as well as daily enjoyment and activity. Shoulder arthritis is a condition in which your cartilage is disintegrated, causing the bones to rub on one another. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and the inability to do things during the day. It can be a result of wear and tear, rheumatoid arthritis, rotator cuff tears, surgery or osteoarthritis.

How to Cope with Shoulder Neck Pain?
Shoulder and neck pain is a common complaint to feel together. Luckily, the pain can be prevented and treated the support muscles strengthened to prevent further injury. You are more likely to develop pains if you have had trauma to the neck or shoulder, suffer from arthritis or have a lifestyle that puts strain on your muscles and joints. When you feel the pain acting up, ice is generally the first thing people reach for. It reduces inflammation, as well as cools the area and lessens the pain.

1. Stretching Your Neck and Shoulders is Important
Gentle stretching exercises can make the difference to the amount of pain you feel. When you stretch the muscles and tendons, you are working out the elasticity and encouraging your neck to become more flexible. One of the best stretching exercises for your neck is one that uses the full range of motion it has. To perform a good exercise for your neck, start by sitting in a chair with your head up and posture straight. Begin by lowering your chin down to your chest, and hold the position. Next, lean your head back as far as you can manage and bring it back to the normal position. Follow this up by leaning your left ear to your left shoulder, and then your right ear to the right shoulder. Finally, slowly rotate your chin to the left shoulder, and then the right shoulder.

2. Keep Your Back and Neck Supported
If you work from home on a computer, you should be familiar with the strain it can put on your neck and shoulders. It is important to keep your posture straight, and to have your home office set up to avoid having to repeatedly look down and back up. When speaking on the phone, a headset can help keep your neck from hurting further. Some injuries can be caused by overusing your neck and shoulder muscles, as well as being in the same position constantly.

3. Get Plenty of Good Quality Sleep
When you sleep, support is even more important. There are many good pillows that you can find to suit the level of support your neck is in need of. Some water pillows work better for certain people, as you can control the level of firmness in an easier way. A good bed is also important to prevent harming your muscles and joints, as a bed that is too soft won't provide enough support, while a bed that is too firm will cause your back to ache. Find the one that provides the most comfort and support for you and you will be fine.

4. Exercise and Strengthen Your Muscles and Joints!
Your neck holds 7 bones, each stacked on top of one another with discs of cartilage in between, and ligaments wrapped around them all to hold them steady. The neck has 6 ranges of motion when it is fully healthy. There are exercises for the neck that are meant to strengthen the neck muscles and increase the amount of support for your head. For instance, the side neck stretch in which you gently tilt your head towards your shoulder and pull gently to encourage the stretch will work out your tendons.
Your shoulder, however, is a ball and socket joint that has one of the widest ranges of motion in the body. It depends on your shoulder muscles for stability, so it is important to work out the shoulders to build up the muscles in your back. There are many excellent exercises for this, such as the shoulder raise. With the shoulder raise, you simply raise your shoulders to your ears and hold for several seconds before lowering them to normal. There is also the upward stretches, which use a fuller range of motion, as you extend both hands above your head and push them up and back, all while keeping your back straight.

5. Develop Good Health Habits
While relaxation exercises will help to keep your stress levels down, and strengthening exercises will develop your muscles and tendons, it is important to develop other good habits as well. For instance, you can choose to eliminate foods that encourage inflammatory responses, and choose healthier dining options. If you drink or smoke, quit! Smoking is hazardous and so too is drinking. These habits are known to slow your body's response and delay your healing process.

Shoulder and neck pain is manageable, and even curable, by simply practicing these good habits and encouraging your body to become stronger. You should practice these even if you do not experience shoulder and neck pain in order to avoid developing it later in life.

REFERENCES:

  • Herzog W, Symons B. (2001). "The biomechanics of spinal manipulation.". Crit Rev Phys Rehabil Med 13 (2): 191–216.
  • Kingston L, Claydon L, Tumilty S (August 2014). "The effects of spinal mobilizations on the sympathetic nervous system: A systematic review". Man Ther 19 (4): 281–287. doi:10.1016/j.math.2014.04.004. PMID 24814903.
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