Most people, at some stage, suffer from tension in the shoulders and neck, which can be caused or exacerbated by a number of factors, including:
- General poor posture
- Excessive computer work, with insufficient breaks
- Poor seating position
- Favouring left or right side when lifting and carrying
- Feeling stressed
But did you know that we are particularly prone to shoulder and neck pain during the winter months. We unconsciously clench our muscles against feeling cold. Think about the action of shivering, which either starts from or centres around the shoulders; this is because one of the body’s trigger points for experiencing the feeling of coldness is the base of the neck.
Just like using a draft excluder under a door, we may protect ourselves by pulling our coat collars up or wearing a scarf……I do love a scarf! If, though you are aware of tensing against the cold weather and suffering from tension or, worse still, pain in this area, then there are a couple of simple things you can do:
Be aware of your posture. We can be blissfully unaware that we have raised shoulders, indeed it is thought that during the winter, over 50% of the UK population raise their shoulders by 2 inches, as a reaction against feeling cold.
Consciously drop your shoulders. You can do this by standing and sliding your shoulder blades down either side of your spine. This position is where your shoulders sit when relaxed and can come as quite a surprise! Once that tension is eased you will also notice the pressure lifting from the upper back and neck.
Try this simple exercise: whilst sitting up straight in a fixed position dining type chair, lower your shoulders and lengthen your neck muscles at the same time (imagine the top of your head is attached to a string, which is being pulled upwards). Repeat the stretch 3 times, twice a day. This should ease pain and help re-educate your posture.
How can massage help?
Massage is not only relaxing and stress-relieving overall, but it can specifically ease the tightness of the muscles of the neck and shoulders.
Here at the Garden Room, we offer a number of back, neck and shoulder massage options. Hot stone massage offers the additional bonus of heat, which is blissful on a cold day. The heat of the stones penetrates the muscles and intensifies the effect of the massage. Contracted muscles become more malleable and the massage movements stretch and relax them, relieving the tension and pain and promoting a feeling of well-being.
Why not help winter along a little and treat those shoulders to some tender loving care.