FEELING GREAT: Shoulder tension and neck stiffness can creep up on you

Last week I wrote about one of the most common issues we are dealing with during lockdown as your routine changes.

Shoulder tension and neck stiffness often creeps up you with zero warning.
Shoulder tension and neck stiffness often creeps up you with zero warning.

And while knee pain is a big issue right now, not far behind amongst the patients we are seeing is a stiff neck and stiff shoulders.

Again, this can be down to the most basic of reasons; the fact that your regular routine has been turned upside down and you are doing things a different way.

You could be playing with the kids all day, picking them up, trying to home school or doing new ways to exercise at home. More commonly, we are treating patients who are trying to work from home, sitting on the sofa with their laptop on – without a regular desk or chair…

Shoulder tension and neck stiffness often creeps up you with zero warning. There’s sometimes no explanation as to why you might all of a sudden wake up one morning with an annoying neck pain.

Most people think when they get neck or shoulder pain, the pain will go away on its own. That they’ll wake up one morning and like magic, it’ll be as if it never happened. Let me tell you as secret: It doesn’t work like that!.

Here’s my top tips to help with your neck and shoulder pain.

1: Use ice (not heat) to stop pain

Ice is by far the best way to ease the pain. Use ice whenever you’re feeling achy or painful, such as at the end of a very busy day. Apply an ice pack for 10 minutes or so, little but very often (every hour).


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And when to use heat? Apply a hot water bottle on a morning when your neck and shoulder is likely to be feeling more stiff, than painful. Again, 10 minutes should do it.

2: Sleep with one soft pillow

Now this may be difficult at first, especially if you are used to two pillows. But, if you can persist, it lowers the amount of stretching and the tension, happening at your neck.

Frequent headaches, migraines, and constant shoulder tension are a sign of spending 8 hours every night in the wrong position. Drop down to one soft pillow and see the difference.


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3: Avoid reading for more than 20 minutes in bed

Your head looking forwards and down at a book is increasing tension in muscles. It’s a bit like stretching an elastic band too far – eventually it will fray.

Worse, at this late time in the day, your muscles are already tired and weak so placing them under even more tension, will make more strain and headaches inevitable.

If you’re in pain and would like to talk to us about getting some help, we are safely offering both face-to-face and virtual appointments. Call us on 01429 866771 or visit paulgoughphysio.com