Today’s blog will focus on a common discomfort experienced by a large majority of the general public: neck and shoulder pain.A wide range of “injuries” around the spine, whether it be upper/lower back or at the neck, are due to tension in the surrounding muscles. The reasoning for this is that there are a lot of insertion points in and around the vertebrae, therefore if the muscles become injured or tight, naturally, the vertebrae will be pulled out of a neutral alignment. Of course, more acute injuries can affect the spinal column itself.

A lot of people suffer from tight upper traps, this can lead to numerous issues; firstly, generalised neck and shoulder pain. Secondly, postural changes to decrease the pain. Thirdly, weakness and tension in the muscles that are over compensating and causing the postural alignment issues and finally, tension headaches.

Tension in the upper traps can be caused for various reasons for example, day to day life such as working conditions, if you are sat at a computer screen all day posture can very easily be affected in a negative way. Poor sleep patterns will also cause unnecessary tension in the neck and shoulders along with stress and anxiety levels.

Postural changes include a rounding forward of the shoulders, the shoulders also tend to be raised up to the ears and the head moves forward. The body position causes tension through pecs and upper traps, with a weakness forming through lower traps.

Tension headaches generally follow a pattern of pain running from behind the head over the top to the forehead, or more specifically around the temples. These are caused by tension in the neck muscles which have insertion points around the base of the skull.

Alongside massage, there are self management ways of dealing with this kind of problem, including; have a work space assessment to make sure everything is set up to decrease the unnecessary tension forming around the neck and shoulders. Assessing posture to enable the muscles to move in the correct way as well as loosening the tension in the affected muscles and this can be done to an extent by rolling on a softball. A great way to ease tension headaches is to tape two golf balls together, lay on your back and rest your neck onto the balls (with one either side of the spine), rest there for a few minutes to get the greatest benefit.

Ultimately the best thing you can do is decrease stress and anxiety levels, one great way of achieving this is by coming and training with any of our helpful and of course quick witted trainers at the better body group!!

If you have a questions come and find me in and around the gym and I will be happy to help.