For a lot of people neck and shoulder muscles can carry too much tension. Tension in the muscles of the neck leads to muscle pain and headaches as they constrict the blood flow to the head.
The culprit of a stiff neck is often related to a tight trapezius muscle. Tight trapezius muscles can be caused by head forward posture, holding the phone between your ear and shoulder, carrying a heavy bag and most commonly stress.
Improved posture is also important. With head forward posture you are creating lots of strain for your traps for every inch your head moves forwards, it gains 4.5kg in weight. This means that you are putting a lot of strain on the muscles of your upper back. Th muscles in your upper back and neck have to work that much harder to keep the head (chin) from dropping onto your chest.
To eliminate neck tension try the following:
Stretch the pecs
Tight pectoral muscles pull the shoulder forward and out of optimal alignment switching off engagement of lower trapeze muscles.
Increase blood flow to the area
Shoulder shrugs are a great way to increase blood flow to the area. By increasing blood flow you allow more oxygen and other nutrients to flow to the muscle eliminating muscle strain.
Manage your stress
Stress is the greatest cause of neck pain and sometimes beyond our control, however simple breathing exercises along with regular Pilates can help to reduce your stress.
Pilates exercise helps you move the right muscles and become aware of where you are holding your body tension. Pilates helps restore postural alignment to your body, stretches the area that needs stretching and builds muscle strength in the body.
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