The intensity of neck and shoulder pain and stiffness can often vary from mild, which affects the mobility of your joints, to the very severe and intense pain, preventing even the smallest movements. Luckily, there are ways to treat it, get pain relief and prevent pain from developing in the first place.

Most common causes of severe neck and shoulder pain are muscle spasms. Muscle spasms are sudden and severe contractions within the muscle or a group of muscles. They can be the result of long-term exposure to stress, long (seated) periods spent in the same position, sitting at your desk/computer, working at the conveyor belt at the factory etc.

Traffic accidents also contribute to the growing number of stiffness and pain, especially when whiplash injuries occur. To the list of causes we can also add:

  • Sport injuries
  • Intensified old injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Anatomical degeneration
  • Tumor
  • Herniated disc
  • Bursitis
  • Poor posture etc.

Pain Prevention

I am a big believer in prevention and I think that the key to a healthy life is in anticipation and preparation. There are many ways you can prevent the pain in the shoulder and neck:

  1. Get a proper pillow. I`m sure you`ve heard this advice many times before but did it actually make you go to the store and get one? Our body is recovering and resting through the night and we must aid it as much as we can. Getting a proper pillow will help your muscles relax and relieve your pain, so what are you waiting for?
  2. Mind your posture when at the desk/PC. Another common tips, but you will be surprised if you knew how many people fail to put it into action. Don`t be one of those people, take care of your posture and it will take care of your back!
  3. Exercise! Our body is not designed to remain seated for 7,8,9 hours a day, it craves movement and exercise. I know that you can`t quit your job just to be able to satisfy your body`s need for movement, but you can take regular breaks and do some stretching.

Treatment And Stretches

Before you engage in any sort of exercises I would advise you to consult your doctor. He/she can access your condition and offer you a proper exercise regime. But, if you want to take matters into your own hands, here are a few exercises you can try out.

Head Turn

Stand up straight, legs hip wide, hands on your waist. Flex your head forward so that you chin (almost) touches your chest and move it to the left and to the right; then bring it back up. Repeat 5 times.

Shoulder Raise

Stand up straight, legs hip wide, arms extended by your side. Now, lift your shoulders up and remain in this position for a couple seconds (up to 10) and release. Repeat 5 times. Optional: rotate your shoulders clockwise then counter-clockwise.

Arm Lift

Stand up straight, like in the previous exercise and lift your arms up (depending on the intensity of pain, you can either lift them until they are parallel to the ground, or lift above your head) and bring them back down. Repeat the exercise up to 10 times.

Neck Extension 

Stand up straight and place your right palm to your left ear (bring your arm over your head) and pull your head gently to the right shoulder. Stretch as much as you can, and repeat on the other side. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds and repeat up to 5 times on both sides.


Bridge Pose

Lie down on the floor and lift your but in the air. You can check out the image below to see how it is done.

Yoga For Neck
Photo (c)

Tadasana Pose

Stand up with your legs next to each other and raise your arms above your head. Palms facing the sky as if you want to touch it. Stretch  your body as much as you can as you push your hands up to the count of six. Then exhale as you bring your arms back down. Again, inhale and extend your arms above your head. Repeat six times.

The Best Pillow For Pain Relief

Unfortunately, you will have to do some investigation for yourself if you want to get a good neck and shoulder pain pillow since the one that fits me might not fit you! You can start your search here:

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