This weekend’s challenge is one of my absolute favorites. You can’t beat it for releasing tension and easing pain in your neck and shoulders, and it can be done while seated or standing.
The Neck And Shoulder Pain Reliever stretches the trapezius muscle (“traps”), which can become very tight for a variety of reasons. And the effects of tight traps can reverberate throughout your body, contributing to a host of health challenges. Releasing the traps helps to correct these issues, so let’s get right to today’s challenge!
Tense shoulders and neck muscles can be caused by a variety of reasons, many of which are stress-related. As we near the peak of the holiday season, stress tends to peak as well.
Tension causes many people to draw their shoulders upward without realizing it. This, in turn, can affect the position of the shoulder blades, collar bone, and thoracic vertebrae. As you might suspect, these are some of the key areas associated with posture.
Healthy traps are, in fact, key players in maintaining good posture and in the prevention of Dowager’s Hump or kyphosis. The traps begin at the bottom few cervical vertebrae and fan our across the shoulders, connecting along the back of the collarbone and narrowing again to attach to the thoracic vertebrae.
Thus, the traps are highly influential in the position of the upper back and shoulders, with weak or tight traps contributing to kyphosis and an overall hunchbacked appearance.
Additionally, the traps get fatigued and tight in cases of Forward Head Posture, or FHP. This condition is a fairly modern one; it’s associated with chronically poking the head forward and sometimes downward, as when looking at a phone or computer screen. To read more about FHP, click here: Could This Simple Posture Error Wreak Havoc On Your Bone Health?
That’s not all. The state of your traps has a great deal to do with your sleeping position. That’s right – even the way you sleep can influence your back and shoulders and, ultimately, your posture. Many people sleep in positions that actually strain their muscles and stress their joints, causing pain and hampering healthy bone remodeling, much of which takes place while you sleep.
To read more about how sleeping affects your posture, including my personal experience with shoulder pain and sleeping position, please click on this link:
The Traps Influence More Than Just Posture
It’s no coincidence that painful shoulders and necks arise more frequently as people age. As we grow up and mature, we carry more and more responsibilities, and the “weight” of those responsibilities gets carried largely by the shoulders, or, I should say, in the shoulders. Adults who juggle work, kids, aging parents, a spouse, and more tend to succumb to tight, tense shoulder muscles under the stress of so many roles.
As I mentioned earlier, stressed, tense traps draw the skeleton out of alignment, which not only creates poor posture but also works against healthy bone remodeling.
There’s a deeper level, too, with regard to life stresses and shoulder tension influencing bone health. Holding on to negative feelings, grudges, anger, unresolved hurt, can greatly affect the state of your muscles, bones, digestion, mind, and so much more.
It’s interesting how negative emotions seem to get “trapped” in the muscles, particularly the back and shoulders … maybe the name “traps” has more meaning than we realize!
Now let’s do something about it. In addition to releasing muscle tension physically, as in today’s exercise, releasing negative feelings and fostering positive ones are equally important. For ten effective tips on overcoming stress, anger, and other negative feelings, please read this article:
And for the physical aspect, let’s get started on the Neck And Shoulder Pain Reliever!
- If you’re seated, make sure your feet are flat on the floor and you’re sitting up straight. If you’re standing, begin with your feet hip-width apart.
- Begin with your head in a neutral position, facing straight forward.
- Turn your head to one side (let’s say the left for clarity), and then bring your chin down to your collarbone (or as low as you can comfortably go).
- Bring your left arm up and place it on the back of your head. Gently push down on your head, applying just enough pressure to feel a good stretch in the right side of your neck, along the top of your shoulder, and your upper back. Hold this for three to five seconds.
- Release the pressure and bring your hand back down and your head back up to the neutral, forward-facing position.
- Switch sides and repeat steps 3 through 5.
For better results, you can also do these previous weekend challenges:
Many Savers who, in addition to the weekend challenges, practice the bone-building exercises in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System find relief from stress, tension, and negative feelings (including depression). There’s no doubt that regular exercise has an untold number of benefits, and scientists are discovering new ones all the time. Stress relief is just one such benefit, but it’s an important one!
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
My holiday wish is for everyone to enjoy this time of year in a peaceful, positive state of mind without too much bone-damaging stress.
Wishing you a warm and wonderful holiday season,