by Toni Twitty
OKC Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Expert
Almost everyone who gets tightness in their neck and shoulders knows how unpleasant it can be. Bad posture and stress can turn your minor aches into nonstop pain with headaches, tingling hands, ringing ears, and facial pain. The good news is that you can resolve your neck pain for good with the help of these 5 simple tips!
Fix your posture.
Bad posture is a major issue in today’s world. Remember how we used to walk around the house with books on our heads because our grandmothers talked about having to do that as children when they told us to sit up straight day in and day out? That was because their parents valued good posture more than we do today. Add cell phones the adulteration of posture and boom! Neck and shoulder pain is one of the top pain complaints in America. Work on your posture; annoy yourself into sitting up properly. Adjust your keyboard and chair height at work. Wear a figure 8 if you can’t remember to not slouch. Remember: Shoulders back, head straight up is the goal.
Strengthen your upper back muscles.
Do some rowing, push-ups, or “pull” type exercises will help work your upper back muscles. Yoga is another great way to strengthen and stretch the upper back that also provides you with your exercise for the day. The stronger the muscles, the better off you’ll be in maintaining that fab new posture that you’re working on mastering.
Try some stretches. I’ve found that stretching throughout the day is very helpful to those who tend toward tension. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Corner Stretch- Find an empty corner in a room (you need a corner made of 2 walls). Place your hands, palm down on each wall with your head facing the corner. Then lay your forearms on the wall in line with your palms. Lean into the corner and you should feel a slight stretch in your upper back.
- Door Jam Stretch- Here’s a variation of the stretch above: Hold onto the top of a door jam and then step slowly out of the doorway until you feel a little stretch. Remember, start slow and don’t do anything that its uncomfortable.
- Lateral Neck Stretch- You begin this stretch by sitting nice and tall. Slowly turn your head to the right until your chin is in line with your shoulder. Now, look down moving your head with your gaze. Feel that? If you don’t turn your head and then look down its not nearly as awesome! Repeat on the left side.
- Lateral Neck Stretch II- Lay your head over as if your ear is going to touch your shoulder. Don’t force it, just lean your head over until you feel the stretch on the opposite side.
I see great results with my patients who do these stretches! Just remember, start slow and don’t force it. If any of these are painful, stop doing them- not every stretch is for every person.
De-stress/Address Emotional Hurdles
In my practice I’ve found that the number one cause of neck and shoulder pain is stress. Some of us literally carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Stress can also greatly contribute to all over pain issues such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and unexplained body aches and pains. Partaking in activities that you love or find relaxing, meditating, massage, or acupuncture are all great ways to relieve your stress.
Acupuncture is great for all types of pain, but its especially great for neck and shoulder pain. Acupuncturists have 4+ years of specialized training that they can use to ease your pain and resolve it long term. With Acupuncture the underlying cause of your pain is assessed and treated in combination with the symptoms (aka pain) that you’re experiencing. Acupuncture is not “one size fits all”; there is no ‘neck treatment’ that works 75% of the time. Instead, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine are personalized. Your pain is your pain and your Acupuncturist will use their training to figure out why you have pain and how best to resolve it. If you live in the Oklahoma City Metro area and want to see if Acupuncture is for, send me a message or give me a call at 405-905-5248.
Toni Twitty, M.Ac. is an highly respected expert Acupuncturist located in the Oklahoma City, OK metro. She specializes in resolving pain, treating chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and fatigue, facial rejuvenation, and fertility. www.bewellokc.com