Yoga for Neck Pain Relief
If you’re looking for relief from neck pain, try these yoga moves.
Neck pain can hinder your ability to perform even the most minimal actions, like looking over your shoulder to switch lanes while driving, or simply laying your head down on your pillow to sleep. It’s important to address your neck pain quickly and safely relieve the pain by stretching out the surrounding muscles. There are a few specific yoga postures that can do exactly what you need to stretch out those muscle groups. Try the yoga poses below to find some relief from neck pain. Remember that it is always recommended to consult a doctor before performing any exercises for pain relief.
By Lauren Cap
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With a focus on the upper part of the body, the cat motion is an excellent stretch for the erector spinae group that runs along the spine from the sacrum to the occiput. Each inhale expands the ribs and stretches the intercostals muscles in between the ribs for a fuller breath. (A lot of tension can be built up in the shoulders and neck which is why breathing is essential for releasing tension from the body.) The upper and lower trapezius, deltoid, rotator cuff muscles (suprispinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor), and latissimus dorsi benefit from the cat posture as well. The upper trapezius muscles connect at the base of the scull called the occiput, which can aide in releasing tension from the neck.
Cow, provides a stretch for the abdominal wall and pectoralis group delivering an opening in the front body. As the pectoralis muscles weaken and tighten a rounding in the spine and upper back occurs, creating that forward head motion. This combination of postural alignment and the weight of the head on the cervical spine can assist in neck pain. The cow motion gives the front body a chance to open up and expand.
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Child’s pose lengthens the spine from cervical to lumbar and stretches the lattismus dorsi when shoulders are in flexion. The action of rolling the forehead from side to side is a safe and easy way to find a release in the shoulders and neck. Tightness in the jaw can affect neck muscles. Offering the chance to relax in the jaw and face here is beneficial to the health of the neck.
Thread the Needle
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The combination of neck rotation and shoulder adduction creates a therapeutic release for the neck. The action of threading the arm through and placing weight onto the shoulder stretches the forearm, biceps, shoulder blade, and neck. One of the rotator cuff muscles that is located in the infraspinous fossa of the scapula (shoulder blade) is the infraspinatus. The infraspinatus muscles assists in adducting the shoulder in thread the needle. The weight of the body on the shoulder blade is a great stretch for this muscle as well. Options to support the head with a blanket can ad ease and restoration to a sometimes challenging posture.
Shoulder Opener on Blocks
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This posture assists in a release for the upper trapezius which connect to the base of the skull. As the head drops down through the arms, the levator scapulae, trapezius, rhomboids, triceps, and pectoralis muscles receive a healing stretch here. This stretch is easily accessible at your work desk, kitchen counter, or on books at home.