Tension and tightness in the neck and shoulders is a common symptom of stress and anxiety. It’s part of the body’s way of gearing up to survive a perceived physical threat. In other words, it’s part of the “fight or flight” stress response.
Fortunately, muscle tension in your neck and shoulders responds well to several different techniques, including targeted stretching, yoga, handheld massage tools, massage chairs, and other relaxation methods. There are many!
To help relieve or prevent tension in your neck and shoulders:
- Apply warm compress to tight area
- Spend a few minutes doing a self-massage each day, as needed
- Soak in warm tub with Epsom salts and a few drops of aromatherapy/essential oils for extra relaxation and healing
- Adjust your workspace, so computer is at eye level, avoiding possible neck strain
- Check posture while at your workspace, making sure to keep hips, shoulders and ears in a straight line
- Get up and move away from workspace each hour for a few minutes
- When resting, use a pillow that offers good support for your neck, and is designed to keep your head and neck aligned
How do you release tension in your neck and shoulders?
Massage guns are extremely helpful in releasing tension in the neck and shoulders.
The definition, according to the Urban Dictionary for massage gun (massAge GUn) n. 1. A gun that shoots a concentrated ball of pressurized air at the user’s shoulder, causing deep tissue release and relaxation of muscles and surrounding tissues. 2. The act of shooting said pressurized air ball directly into one’s shoulder through the use of such a device.
A massage gun is a device that is used to help release tension in the neck and shoulders. They were originally designed for giving yourself or receiving massages, by putting the nozzle on the shoulder/neck area and pressing it, it will shoot air in your muscles to relax them.
To use this device correctly, stand or sit in front of the gun. Keep both feet flat on the floor. Lean forward, holding your upper back and shoulders with one hand and place the nozzle of the gun against your neck or shoulder with the other. Squeeze the trigger and lean into the same shoulder as you hold, to take pressure off of your hand.
The only downside is that it’s not a good thing to overuse this method: This will happen if one uses it daily for a week or more. The skin under the nozzle will get irritated and sore, making it hard to feel comfortable getting a massage with this gun.
Shoulder raises are helpful as well:
- While standing or sitting, with your arms by your side and a straight back, slowly lift your shoulders up toward your ears
- Hold there for a few seconds each rep
- Slowly lower shoulders back down
- Repeat five times
How do I get rid of tension in my neck and shoulders?
When most people start learning how to release tension in the neck and shoulders, they want a magical solution. They think that all you have to do is rub some oil on your skin and it will just melt away. However, there isn’t any magic cure-all product out there for releasing stress from your body. If you’re looking for a magical solution to your problem, you won’t find it in oil massages.
Here are four different tactics you can use at home to relieve tension in your neck and shoulders. They may not be perfect solutions, but they’ll work for most people’s necks and shoulders without too much frustration or time spent.
If you really want a long-term release of tension in your neck and shoulders, you’re better off using some magical oil that melts all the tension away.
Even if you master the home remedies I’m suggesting now, those muscles will still tighten up with stress or fatigue. A regular massage now and then can keep your shoulders feeling loose and free for longer periods of time.
I’ll talk about four different techniques that you can use to release tension in your neck and shoulders:
- A hot shower
- Massaging your neck and shoulders
- A hot towel massage
- Ice therapy
A hot shower will help your muscles release their tensions. The sooner you take a hot shower after a stressful day, the better it will be for your muscles. If you don’t have time to take a long shower or bath, then just turn on the water in that bathroom sink full-blast hot. This is the quickest, easiest way to relieve stress for your neck and shoulders.
One thing you can do after taking a hot shower is rub or massage your neck and shoulders with some nice moisturizing lotion. Any kind of moisturizing lotion will work, I like using Trader Joe’s organic coconut oil. I usually rub it into the top of my shoulders first, then I move on to my neck. Don’t forget to massage your upper arms as well. Your body knows how tense it feels, so be sure to relieve some stress from those shoulders and upper arms too.
Combining a hot shower with some vigorous massaging can work wonders for relieving tension in your neck and shoulders.
Whenever you’re feeling tense, lie down on a floor mat in a room that’s dark and quiet. Just rest there for a while with your eyes closed. Maybe do some deep breathing to help yourself relax. You can even try doing some yoga stretches or just stretch out any way you want. Your body will be releasing the tension it felt while you were standing up. If you’re serious about practicing yoga, then take a look at some YouTube videos. I don’t recommend that you start doing yoga without any proper training or guidance. There are plenty of great YouTube channels for yoga instruction if you want to get started.
If your neck is very tense, it may be worthwhile to get a massage from a professional. A good massage can work wonders for relieving tension in your neck and shoulders. You should research some local professionals and book an appointment to see if you really like the service they provide. If you do, then maybe consider getting massages more often than just when you feel tense.