7 Ways to Reduce Stress-Related Neck and Shoulder Pain

By: StacyAtZeel

Carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, and you're probably going to feel it in that general region as well, along with your neck and upper back.
Stress, no matter where it comes from, tends to linger in the shoulders and neck, creating an achy sensation that can be hard to relieve. What can be done to release this pesky pressure? Zeel Experts in the field of bodywork and massage respond.

Be aware.
Try to bring awareness to the times when you tense up, especially if you tend to clench your jaw or tighten your muscles. Managing tension can help to prevent neck pain.

Easier said than done, right? Be proactive and test relaxation techniques, like meditative yoga, to explore different ways of letting go.

Gentle movements.
Slow range-of-motion exercises can help to loosen the muscles and provide a gentle stretch. Carefully move your head up and down, look side to side and tilt your ear toward your shoulder.

Myofascial release. Neck and shoulder pain can be caused by postural imbalances. A massage therapist who specializes in myofascial release can help to lengthen areas that are tight and tense in order to improve your posture and provide lasting relief.

Faux foam roll. A foam roller is too large to navigate the small structures of the neck and shoulder, so instead, try a foam football. Rest on the floor with a pillow under your knees, and place the football between your shoulder blades. With your hands underneath your head, let your elbows fall to the floor and press down.

Pamper yourself. Take an Epsom salt bath, apply topical lavender oil and make sure to properly hydrate. Other ways to bring about relief in the comfort of your living room is to place a warm, homemade wrap with flax seeds over the shoulders.

"Once or twice a week," explains New York acupuncturist Meg Richichi, "I'll get a frantic call from a client with severe neck and shoulder pain." Relief can typically be found within one to two sessions of acupuncture.

All advice is courtesy of bodywork, massage and acupuncture experts from around the country on Zeel.com, including Krystina Morris, Nicole Solano, Stacey Davidson, Meg Richichi and Leah Nelson.