One of the most common complaints of chronic pain are in the area of the neck and shoulder muscles. The root of the neck and shoulder pain is often caused by constant tightening of the neck and shoulder muscles as in the stressful startle response. Due to our fast paced, high stress society, we often allow our muscles to remain in the startle response.
Learning to breathe correctly with deep breathing exercises can considerably reduce your neck and shoulder pain by reducing your stress. Instead of focusing on your inhalation, make sure your exhalation is complete. A complete exhalation will reduce the carbon dioxide in your system and make room for more oxygen. The effect of more oxygen is pain relieving and stress reducing.
For practice in extending your exhale, you can speak quietly until it is finished. You can repeat breathing exercises as often as you like. For each session, repeat five times. Hopefully, this will improve your everyday breathing pattern. Of course, you may also wish to try an herbal pain killer to help with the pain relief on the inside of the body, as far as helping to reduce inflammation and the actual nerve endings that cause pain.
Relaxation methods can start by lying on your back on a carpeted floor with 1 to 3 inches of support under your head. Next, bend your knees on the seat of a chair or a couch. Then, bend your elbows and put your hands on your ribs. Lay this way for 10 to 15 minutes per day and make a conscious effort to relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
For everyday activities, you can modify your body mechanics to reduce stress on your neck and shoulder muscles. While working at a desk, take a break and fold your arms on the desk and rest your forehead on top of your wrists.
When you find yourself slouching, don’t stiffen into an upright position right away. Instead, shrug your shoulders first and then sit more upright in a relaxed manner.
When falling asleep at night, consciously allow your neck and shoulder muscles to relax and break the tension of the day.