Chronic neck pain can be, well, a pain in the neck.
Usually caused by overuse, poor posture, tension or arthritis—or a combination—neck, shoulder and upper back pain can interfere with almost all routine activities.
But some simple yoga moves can help, and I think this particular YouTube video is great. The moves are well explained, and they can be done either standing or sitting at your desk. And it’s short, only 4 minutes, so these exercises can be done almost any time if your neck muscles are feeling tight or painful.
The Clinical Journal of Pain published a study that proved yoga to be more effective in treating neck pain than the home-based exercises typically prescribed by health care providers.
The patients in the yoga group reported less neck pain, better range of motion, and “better mental quality of life.”
The study used a form of Iyengar yoga. I don’t know much about the different forms of yoga, but apparently Iyengar focuses on posture, alignment and breathing. Teachers of Iyengar yoga are more careful to correct misalignment of poses to ensure maximum benefit.
Just to be clear, I don’t mean the kind of pain caused by nerve trauma. If you have neck pain associated with numbness, tingling, or experience sharp, shooting pains when you move your neck, you should see a physician to get it checked out.
I play the violin and spend way too much time sitting at my computer. I frequently get tension headaches, too. For me, these yoga moves are a quick way to get some instant relief.
Related resources for neck pain: