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(How to) Fix your neck and shoulder pain

Look into the mirror and pay very close attention to your shoulders. Are they high and closing the gap between your ears that you look like you have hangers still when you wear your tops? This elevation is caused by a few muscles being tight and few muscles not being able to activate themselves leaving you like you are shrugging your shoulders the whole time. This is actually a reflexive way of your body talking to you and saying that you have been shifting some weight wrong or you have adapted to something so frequent that you are “moulding” into it. It can even lead to many neck dysfunctions/ pains, migraines and in some cases even lead to entrapment of nerves. Here are some simple ways to identify and correct them getting you a better and more upright posture, without those niggling pains.



Tight traps


Tight traps causes many head, neck and shoulder pain and dysfunction.

If you feel as if you have to massage your neck every now and that you get tight around the neck area easily, you most probably have very tight traps. To fix this, take a moderate heavy weight(dumbbell) on one hand whilst standing. Shrug the shoulder with the weighted hand and stay for about three seconds holding the contraction. Now, allow traps to relax and stretch your traps while using the weight to help you pull your traps down and take the other hand to further the stretch by look the other way with you chin trying to touch the collarbone. Repeat for at least three to five times.


Winged shoulders

right winged shoulder blades

right winged shoulder blades

If you have a posture where you almost feel as if you have wings underneath your armpit and can’t close you arms to the side, also known as ILS(Imaginary Lat Syndrome) then most probably you need this fixing. To help with this, you will need a tennis ball as well or jus about anything you can find in a circular shape, hardness depends on how bad ass you are. Take the ball and place it on the right levator scap, look down and get the chin to touch the left chin, look up and repeat the movement until pain disappears or lessens with the same movement. Second thing you need to do is to have the lower lats starts engaging to help with scapula stabilization and placement of it. Supplement it with eccentric lat pull downs. Rep range will somewhat in the 10-12. This isn’t to exhaust the muscles but to help them wake up and get them to do what they are best at doing.
Tight chest

Know anyone who stands like this?

Know anyone who stands like this?

Now I think almost 85 percent of people will have a tight chest, by that I mean you will have a forward slump with your shoulders making them look like they are rounded to the front instead of an upright posture. This can cause your neck to compensate and thus cause neck strains and shoulder pain and strains with each movement. It gets worse when you are exercising and not having them in the right place and having enough mobility. To fix this, You can start with mobilizing your thoracic spine which need both rotary and extension mobility. Without these two, you will have the shoulder’s capsule in the wrong place and may cause strains in the neck, shoulders and arms. In times this might cause a nerve irritation which not something you look forward to as I have learnt myself.
Lie down facing up and place a foam roller underneath your shoulder blades, keeping your butt on the floor throughout the movement. Now extend your head backwards towards the floor, keeping the elbows tucked in(facing forward). Common mistake for this is people will try to compensate by arching the lower back more rather than trying to keep it in the same angle. Try to move only the thoracic(spine around the shoulder-blade) area rather than moving the lower back. Should you feel more lower back arching each time you are doing this, breath out fully and feel you trunk contracting and start from there to extend your head back.

About Jab

Delusionally Optimistic Personal Trainer and Manual Therapist. Lifetime foodie advocate.


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