Stretch to relieve sore shoulders and neck

  • Written by Cheyanna Carlson, LMP, Harmony Massage

Everyone knows the relief and relaxation they feel after a good massage. The impact it has on your muscles and their functionality can be felt immediately.

These effects often last the entire day, or more. What many people don’t realize, is that they can help prolong this feeling of pain-free movement by continuing to stretch the muscles worked at home.

More often than not, the muscular pain felt in one area of the body, is a direct result of issues in another part of the body.  Today I’m going to address one of the most common problem areas that people come to massage therapists for help with.  It’s an area plagued by almost everyone who has ever worked at a desk: the neck and shoulders.  An increasing amount of people find themselves in a stressful office environment that often involves spending hours a day at the computer.

What does this do to the mechanics of the body?  Without realizing it, most people tend to hunch their shoulders forward, head down, and stay in that position reading paperwork and typing.

Now, what you’ll notice after a while is the discomfort in your neck and shoulders, but the real culprit is your pectoral muscles.  Your pecs are what pull your shoulders forward, and spending a lot of time contracted in that position, tends to make them extremely tight. You won’t notice it ... until your massage therapist gets ahold of them.  It’s the overstretch of all the muscles in your shoulders that claims your attention.

So how to help yourself at home and make your massages more effective?  Stretch!  The best part is that no tools or special athletic skills are required for this.

The most simple, yet effective way is to start is by finding a regular sized doorway in your house.  Bedroom, bathroom, doesn’t matter.  Stand in the doorway, place hands and forearms down flat against the outside.  This creates a nice brace for you to now lean forward.  You will immediately feel the front of your shoulders, as well as your pectoral muscles, begin to stretch.  Hold this pose for about 30 seconds.

Continuing this a few times throughout the day can help allow those muscles to relax, which will in turn allow your shoulder muscles to begin to contract back to where they should be.  Combined with massage, stretching can be your biggest tool for muscular pain relief.

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