Neck And Shoulder Tightness!

Neck and Shoulder Stiffness

Neck And Shoulder Tightness!

Are you constantly complaining about neck and shoulder Tightness?  Do you constantly ask your partner for a massage? Or find yourself constantly rubbing your neck and shoulders? 

 We all know how it feels. It feels like you constantly have a weight on your shoulders. And for some of us, there is the added stress of headaches as well. So often we hear: Neck and Shoulder Stiffness

“My head feels too heavy for my shoulders” or I have constant knots in my neck and shoulder.”

So if you have ever uttered these words “Why are my neck and shoulders always tight? This article is for you. We are going to provide you with a solution to your tightness. Because let’s be honest. Your partner is only going to give you so many massages! 

Why Are Neck and Shoulder Constantly Tight?

Well, this is the million-dollar question!  Why do some people suffer from stiffness and tightness? While others are fine? The answer.  We are all different. It’s not just one “thing” that results in irritation. But rather a complex interaction of your body and life.

We regularly see neck and shoulder tightness paired with high stress and long work hours. Couple this with prolonged periods of sitting. And desk that is not ergonomically sound. Throw in too much time on a device and you the perfect storm for overload, fatigue, pain, and tightness! 

Generally speaking, when most people complain about neck and shoulder tightness they are describing a sensation of tightness of their muscles. It often results in a reduced range of motion and perceived pain. So how can we improve this scenario? And implement a strategy that is long-lasting, and that will provide more relief than the few minutes stretching does.

Our Muscle’s:

We need to change the way we think about muscles. Rather than thinking about them as being tight or loose. We need to think about them as being “active”, that is contracted.  Or “Non contracted” that is relaxed. A very simplistic way to think about our muscles is their function. Do they need to support us? These would be your stabilizing muscles. Or do they need to move us? These would be your mobilising muscles. 

If our big muscles which move us ( mobilisers) , are forced to contract for extended periods of time, they become fatigued. Think about sitting at your desk. I am willing to bet you only start to experience your neck and shoulder tightness towards the end of the day? This is because as the day progresses, your muscles start to fatigue. And it’s this fatigue that leads to that sensation of tightness, as the muscles struggle to perform their job. 

Yes, stretching may temporarily relieve this pain. But wouldn’t it make more sense to treat the CAUSE?

The Main Problem Area’s:

It no surprise that it’s not only the neck and shoulder complex that our patients struggle with this ongoing battle against muscle tightness. 

There are 3 main areas of the body that our patients regularly try to stretch to relieve stiffness and tightness are: 

  • Neck and Shoulders
  • Hip Flexors
  • Hamstrings

The following Video outlines 3 simple yet very effective exercises you can try. These will start to “Strengthen” the muscles. And by developing strength they will have a greater capacity to carry out their job. Not become fatigued and therefore not require you to feel the need to constantly stretch!  

Upper Traps: Shoulder Shrugs

Grabbing a moderately heavyweight ( Sorry all we had were lightweights in the clinic on the day of filming). Exaggerate the movement by pulling your shoulders all the way to your ears, pause,  and then letting them fall to a relaxed position. Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Hamstrings: – Stiff Leg Dead Lift.

With moderate weight, and a slight bend in the knee. Slowly curl the body downwards. You will feel your hamstring stretch as it lengthens. Find your endpoint, and then return to the start position by actively engaging your hamstrings and gluts. 

Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps

 

Hip Flexors: Psoas March:

Lying on your back with the knee bent to 90 degrees. Loop a small Theraband around your feet. Maintain one leg in the bent position, while the other leg actively straightens. Ensure you keep your lower back flat against the floor. Swap legs and repeat.

Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps

 

Take-Home Message:

We need to start addressing WHY our muscles are becoming tight. If stretching is only providing minimal and short term relief. Its time to change your approach. 

I’m not suggesting there is no place for stretching! Certainly, post-exercise is a great time to stretch. But if we are looking for long term relief from neck and shoulder tightness, we need to STRENGTHEN your muscles. Keep in mind, developing strength is going to take a few weeks. Stick with it! 

Any Questions?

If you have any questions about your ongoing neck and shoulder stiffness.  Or stiffness anywhere in your body that just doesn’t seem to be improving, we are more than happy to chat with you. You can email us at [email protected]

 

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