Neck And Shoulder Pain

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5 Easy Yoga Poses For Neck And Shoulder Pain

Today yoga has become a very common practice for the ultimate treatment for all kinds of pains including back and neck pain, arthritis, sciatica, pain syndromes etc. Research shows that back and neck pain leads to the largest number of medical claims which places a major liability not only on the individual suffering from it but also on the entire health care system. Spine and neck pain is one condition that science has not been able to come up with permanent solution as no medicine is able to fully cure it. As is said “prevention is better than cure”, hence doctors are aiming to educate patients to take of their spine and neck rather than having to treat it. There is sufficient evidence to prove that practice of yoga reduces lower back pain as well as upper back pain, increases tolerance to pain and increases the functionality of the back and neck muscles. In total six studies have been performed on 570 patients, which conclude that practice of Iyenger yoga significantly reduces back and neck pain. The review that was performed by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health confirms the beneficial effects of yoga on the treatment and tolerance of back, neck and shoulders pain.

According to the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, the  practice of yoga has been known to tackle and eliminate pain from the root cause which is from the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system.

Here are five best yoga poses for neck and shoulder pain that works best for me when my neck and shoulders feel tight and painful due to lack of sleep or after sitting in front of the computer for prolong hours. If you are experiencing severe pain, it is best to consult with your doctor and if you get the green signal then go ahead with these poses.

1. Sukhasana (Easy pose)

Step 1
Step 2
  • Sit down in a crossed-leg position with your spine and abdomen straight.
  • Wrap yours hands around your knees.
  • Inhale and lift your heart and draw your shoulder blades together making sure they are away from the ears.
  • Continue to hold the pose for 4-5 deep breaths
  • Exhale and gently draw your chin towards your chest, round your shoulder blades and pull your navel in.
  • Continue to hold the pose for 4-5 deep breaths.
  • Repeat all the above steps to complete one full cycle of exhalation and inhalation for 5-6 times.

Note: While inhaling slightly lift and lenghten the crown of your head without crunching it back.

2. Seated Arm Variation​

  • Continue to sit in a crossed-leg position with spine and abdomen straight.
  • Inhale and swing your arms forward, crossing them over like you are swimming and then swing them all the way behind your back.
  • Interlace your fingers behind your back, then bring your shoulder blades together to stretch your back while pulling your shoulders downwards, away from the ears.
  • Continue deep breathing while holding the pose for 30 seconds- 1 minute.
  • Release yours arms and return to your sitting position.

Note: when you interlace your fingers to stretch your back, make sure your back is not reclined towards the back or hunched forward. The head should be over the heart and heart should be over the pelvis.

3. Thread the Needle Pose

Step 2
Step 3
  • Bring your body on your hands and knees like a table top position.
  • Bring your right arm all the way up as much as you easily can.
  • Do not collapse all your weight on the left arm, ​press your palm to the bottom and push your body away.
  • While you create this space between your arms and heart, breathe into your back.
  • Exhale and release your arm and slide it all the way under your right arm until your body is resting on the outer edge of your right shoulder and left cheek.
  • Keep the tops of your feet pressing onto the mat.
  • Continue deep breathing onto your back while holding the pose.
  • Return to the table top position and repeat the same steps by lifting your left arm all the way up.
  • Continue to do this pose for 3 times on each side.

4. Cat-Cow Pose

Step 1

 

Step 2
  • Kneel down on your knees and arms like in a table top position.
  • Shoulders should be aligned right above your wrists and hips right above your knees.
  • As you exhale suck your belly in towards your spine , push your palms on the floor (as though pushing yourself away), tuck your chin into your chest, bring your tailbone down and draw your shoulder blades away from each other. (Hold the pose as long as you can hold your breath).
  • Inhale and draw your chest forward, release your belly, lift your chin and head up, bring your tailbone up. (Hold the pose as long as you can hold your breath).
  • Repeat these steps at least 5 times.

5. Fish Pose

Step 1
Step 2
  • Sit down straight with both your legs extended forward straight.
  • ​Pull your body towards the back by extending your elbows on the mat and your palms facing and touching your hips.
  • Inhale and elevate your chest and raise your abdomen off the mat, making sure most of your weight is on your elbows.
  • Exhale and pull back the crown of the head and rest it on the mat.
  • Continue to hold the pose for 30 seconds while breathing deeply.

Note: While extending your crown on the mat, adjust your elbows by sliding the arms forward if your crown cannot reach the mat.

Caution: Avoid this pose if you are pregnant, have hernia problems or neck and back injury.

Wrapping it up

It is very important that you maintain a straight posture, we tend to lean our head forward while driving, using computer and phone. Besides practicing yoga, lead a healthy lifestyle, try to avoid smoking as it has an adverse effect on the density of our bones which makes us more susceptible to fractures and injuries. Proper diet with enough calcium to support our bones is crucial for the proper functionality of our bones. All the Stress we take builds on the upper back and neck which results in cramping and muscle tension but yoga helps to calm our mind and increases our endurance to pain. Learn to manage your stress and anxiety naturally in five easy steps click here to read more.

I hope my yoga poses for neck and shoulder pain will provide you a strong and healthy neck and shoulders. Please leave your suggestions below, I would to hear from you.

Thank you

Ramandeep Kaur (Founder)

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8 Comments

  1. Very interesting and right up my alley! I wake up with neck and shoulder pain everyday. I am definitely going to try these positions out.
    How’d you come up with these positions to relieve neck and shoulder pain? Did you have these pains and used yoga to decrease it or even eliminate it? Would love to know if it actually works. Maybe I’ll let you know after I give these a whirl!
    I did just realize that your site is ‘benefits of yoga for women’ lol I am still going to give them a try. My neck hurts so bad!
    Thank you!

    1. Hello Kyle,
      Just like you I experienced neck, shoulders and back pain after my pregnancy as our muscles tend to loosen up after pregnancy. That busy time I could not dedicate myself to yoga for a year and once I settled down with all the changes I switched back to yoga. I found great relief with these poses and I have not been tortured by that pain since then. I did notice a difference in my pain after each day of practice and after 2 months my pain was hell lot better. Give them a try and I would love to know how they worked for you.

      I apologize for the title, no offense to men with my website title benefits of yoga for women, I started this website with the purpose to help women like me who have health problems that can be healed through yoga. But I am so glad with my efforts to help women, men are finding this helpful as well. No doubt yoga is beneficial for everyone and anyone. I wish you a happy, healthy body.

      Best Regards
      Raman

  2. I have incorporated yoga into my exercise regimen for the past two years and it has kept me feeling more sprung than my younger years. Most men do not perform yoga exercises but I believe doing it as you get older is a way to maintain your flexibility and mobility.

    1. Hello Max,
      You are absolutely right! This is the magic and power of yoga, I find myself more active and alive too than my younger years. I do not understand what stops most men from practicing yoga, may be they prefer those muscle straining exercises more than yoga lol. You made a wise decision, continue to practice yoga and you will notice not only does your body behaves young but it will also tend to look younger. I wish you a happy, healthy body.

      Best Regards
      Ramandeep

  3. This is a great post Ramandeep about the benefits of Yoga for neck and shoulder pain. The way you describe the different poses and provide detailed instruction for each action, is excellent.
    I am great believer in the benefits gained from practicing Yoga and recommend that everyone should practice from a young age.
    My reason for saying that is I did Yoga for several years and gained much benefit. However, I eventually let life get in the way and consequently stopped practicing Yoga.
    Another great benefit from Yoga is learning the correct way to breath, and the benefit of relaxation through correct breathing.
    As you say, prevention is better than cure and I totally agree.
    Thank you.

    1. Hello Valerie,
      Thank you for those kind words! It happened with me as well, I let my busy life take over me and gave up yoga. I noticed myself living with so many ailments and then I captured my body and turned it into a healthy one. Now I have come back strong to yoga, no matter what I won’t give up on this. You should not give up either, I understand it is difficult to find time for yourself in this busy world but you have discovered the benefits of giving time to your body so why let any ailments capture your body? Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. I wish you all the best for stepping back to yoga again.

      Best Regards
      Ramandeep

  4. very interesting indeed. the positions are very simple and doesn’t take alot of time to do and helps alot with constant pain and comfort thank you the share of your helpful article

    1. Hello Terei,

      You are most welcome. I hope these poses will provide you a strong and healthy neck and shoulders. I wish you a happy, healthy body.

      Best Regards
      Ramandeep

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