May 27, 2024
Home » Yoga for Neck Pain: Gentle Poses to Relieve Discomfort

Can incorporating various yoga poses help reduce neck tension and provide pain relief for individuals dealing with neck pain?

Introduction

Within the hustling and bustling of modern life, it is common for many individuals to carry stress in their bodies. When the body deals with everyday stressors, tension, discomfort, and pain can often manifest in the upper and lower portions of the body. When the body’s upper and lower portions deal with these issues, they can cause overlapping risk profiles in the musculoskeletal system. One of the most common musculoskeletal issues is neck pain. It can cause many problems to the cervical portion of the spine and cause the surrounding muscles to become tense and in pain from the stress of everyday responsibilities. Luckily, there are numerous ways to reduce stress from the neck and help relax the affected muscles from discomfort, including yoga. In today’s article, we will look at how neck pain affects the upper body, the benefits of yoga for neck pain, and various yoga poses to reduce the overlapping effects of neck pain. We discuss with certified medical providers who consolidate our patients’ information to assess how neck pain is correlated with everyday stressors that affect the upper body. We also inform and guide patients on how yoga and the various poses can benefit the body and provide pain relief to the surrounding muscles. We also encourage our patients to ask their associated medical providers many intricate and important questions about incorporating yoga into their daily routine to reduce muscle tension and provide clarity to their bodies. Dr. Jimenez, D.C., includes this information as an academic service. Disclaimer.

 

How Does Neck Pain Affect The Upper Body?

Do you feel discomfort or pain in your neck and shoulders after a long, hard workday? Do you notice you hunched more than usual when doing your daily routine? Or do you see yourself developing a hunched posture from looking at the computer screen or phone for an extended period? Many of these normal motions are often correlated with the upper body, especially in the neck and shoulder regions, which causes neck pain. As one of the most common problems affecting many people worldwide, neck pain is a multifactorial disease with numerous risk factors contributing to its development. (Kazeminasab et al., 2022) Like back pain, neck pain can have acute and chronic stages depending on the severity and environmental factors leading to its development. The various muscles, ligaments, and tissues surrounding the neck and shoulders keep the neck stable and mobile. When many individuals overuse these muscles in the neck and shoulders repetitively, it can increase neck pain in the upper body in adulthood. (Ben Ayed et al., 2019

 

 

When acute neck pain turns chronic, it can cause the individual to be in constant discomfort, pain, and misery, so they start to look for various solutions to reduce the correlating symptoms when speaking to their primary doctors. When many individuals begin to explain to their doctors what their daily routine looks like, many doctors will start to assess and formulate a plan that focuses on any specific description of any injuries, including potential mechanisms, inciting and relieving factors, and pain patterns they have encountered throughout the day to come up with a personalized treatment plan to not only reduce neck pain but also provide relief to tension and discomfort to the body. (Childress & Stuek, 2020

 


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The Benefits Of Yoga For Neck Pain

Many primary doctors will work with associated medical providers to develop a personalized plan to relieve neck pain and its associated symptoms in many individuals. Many of these customized treatment plans include spinal manipulation, acupuncture, massage, decompression therapy, and therapeutic exercises. One of the therapeutic exercises that many individuals have utilized is yoga. Yoga is a holistic practice encompassing breathing control, meditation, and various poses to stretch and strengthen the affected upper muscles. Yoga is excellent for reducing neck pain and helping with upper cervical spine mobility, stretching the neck musculature to help the individual improve mobility and flexibility. (Raja et al., 2021) Additionally, the effects of yoga and its many poses can reduce tension, give clarity to the mind, and allow the nutrients and oxygen to the musculo-articular system to naturally heal the body itself. (Gandolfi et al., 2023)

 

Yoga Poses For Neck Pain

At the same time, many individuals with sedentary jobs that correlate to neck pain have implemented yoga as part of their routine. Yoga improves their range of joint motion and cognitive function and helps relieve musculoskeletal discomfort in the neck and shoulder regions. (Thanasilungkoon et al., 2023) Below are some of the various yoga poses that can help reduce the pain-like symptoms of neck pain and ease the surrounding muscles. 

 

Seated Neck Stretches

 

For seated neck stretches, this yoga pose helps stretch and release the neck muscles that carry tension and stress in the cervical region of the body. 

  • In a seated upright position, turn the head to the right and gently lift the chin.
  • You should feel a stretch along the left side of the neck and shoulders.
  • Hold the position for three to five breaths and repeat on the left side.

 

Camel Pose

 

For the camel pose, this yoga pose helps strengthen the front neck muscles while easing tension on the shoulders and back of the neck.

  • You can kneel on a yoga mat by keeping your knees and feet hip-distance apart while keeping the pelvis neutral. 
  • Lift the chest while arching your back and pressing the pelvis slightly forward.
  • Bring the fingertips to the heels or yoga blocks beside the ankles.
  • Focus on drawing the chin close to the neck while pressing the feet to the mat.
  • Hold the position for three to five breaths before releasing and lifting the sternum to rise back up.

 

Sphinx Pose

 

The sphinx pose allows you to lengthen and strengthen the spine while stretching the shoulders and releasing tension. 

  • On a yoga mat, lie on your stomach with the elbows under the shoulders.
  • Press your palms and forearms on the mat and tighten the lower half to support you as you lift your upper torso and head.
  • Keep looking straight ahead as you are being mindful of lengthening the spine.
  • Hold this position for three to five breaths.

 

Thread The Needle Pose

 

The thread-the-needle pose helps release tension stored in the neck, shoulders, and back.

  • On a yoga mat, start in an all-fours position with the wrist under the shoulders and the knees under the hips.
  • Lift the right hand and move it to the left along the floor with the palm facing up.
  • Hold the position for three to five breaths for thirty seconds and release.
  • Return to the all-fours position and repeat to the left side.

 

Conclusion

Overall, incorporating yoga as part of a daily routine can provide beneficial results in reducing neck pain and its associated comorbidities. Yoga does not require hours of practice or even contorting into various poses, as just a few minutes of gentle stretching and mindful breathing each day can provide positive results. When people start to utilize yoga as part of their daily activities, they will notice their posture improving, their minds clearer than ever, and live a happier, healthier life without dealing with neck pain.


References

Ben Ayed, H., Yaich, S., Trigui, M., Ben Hmida, M., Ben Jemaa, M., Ammar, A., Jedidi, J., Karray, R., Feki, H., Mejdoub, Y., Kassis, M., & Damak, J. (2019). Prevalence, Risk Factors and Outcomes of Neck, Shoulders and Low-Back Pain in Secondary-School Children. J Res Health Sci, 19(1), e00440. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31133629

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6941626/pdf/jrhs-19-e00440.pdf

Childress, M. A., & Stuek, S. J. (2020). Neck Pain: Initial Evaluation and Management. American Family Physician, 102(3), 150-156. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32735440

www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2020/0801/p150.pdf

Gandolfi, M. G., Zamparini, F., Spinelli, A., & Prati, C. (2023). Asana for Neck, Shoulders, and Wrists to Prevent Musculoskeletal Disorders among Dental Professionals: In-Office Yoga Protocol. J Funct Morphol Kinesiol, 8(1). doi.org/10.3390/jfmk8010026

Kazeminasab, S., Nejadghaderi, S. A., Amiri, P., Pourfathi, H., Araj-Khodaei, M., Sullman, M. J. M., Kolahi, A. A., & Safiri, S. (2022). Neck pain: global epidemiology, trends and risk factors. BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 23(1), 26. doi.org/10.1186/s12891-021-04957-4

Raja, G. P., Bhat, N. S., Fernandez-de-Las-Penas, C., Gangavelli, R., Davis, F., Shankar, R., & Prabhu, A. (2021). Effectiveness of deep cervical fascial manipulation and yoga postures on pain, function, and oculomotor control in patients with mechanical neck pain: study protocol of a pragmatic, parallel-group, randomized, controlled trial. Trials, 22(1), 574. doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05533-w

Thanasilungkoon, B., Niempoog, S., Sriyakul, K., Tungsukruthai, P., Kamalashiran, C., & Kietinun, S. (2023). The Efficacy of Ruesi Dadton and Yoga on Reducing Neck and Shoulder Pain in Office Workers. Int J Exerc Sci, 16(7), 1113-1130. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/38287934

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10824298/pdf/ijes-16-7-1113.pdf

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The information herein on "Yoga for Neck Pain: Gentle Poses to Relieve Discomfort" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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