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Shoulder Pain and Neck Mobility


The neck and shoulder are closely linked so a problem with the shoulder is often linked to issues with the neck and vice versa.

Do you remember learning the song, “Dem Dry Bones” that starts off with “The toe bone connected to the foot bone”. It goes on to say, “The shoulder bone connected to the neck bone.

The shoulder bone is indeed connected to the neck bone in several ways. The trapezius muscle is one of those connections, and is frequently the cause of shoulder pain.

Understanding shoulder pain and neck mobility

It is the trapezius muscle that causes so much discomfort when you have been stooped over for too long doing homework, reading your favorite novel, etc.

This is also the muscle that aches and cramps when you have carried excess weight on one side of the body.

The trapezius muscle is a large muscle that actually functions not only with the neck and shoulder but also the upper back.

Improve Neck Mobility to ease Shoulder Pain

Working to improve the mobility in your neck can help ease the discomfort you feel in your shoulders caused by strain.

Since the trapezius muscle is connected to both the shoulder and the neck, increasing how far the muscle can safely stretch in the neck will decrease the stress placed on the same muscle at the shoulder. The principle is similar to Newton’s 3rd Law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Improving neck mobility is easy to do and can be achieved by performing the following 4 exercises daily:

Neck Mobility Exercises

  1. Tuck your chin into your chest then lift your chin upwards as far as you can without discomfort. Repeat this movement 5 to 10 times.

  2. With your head facing forward, lower your right ear to your right shoulder as far as you can; bring your head back to centre then repeat on the left side. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

  3. Again with your head facing forward, turn your chin toward your right shoulder and then your left, repeating 5 to 10 times.

  4. Keeping your chin level, slide your neck forward and backward, repeating 5 to 10 times.

You can do the above exercises gently and easily everyday with little interference to your normal routine.

When you first begin to stretch the muscle, stretch only to the point that your comfort level decreases and start with the minimum number of repetitions.

As you begin to regularly do these exercises you will be able to stretch a little farther each time and as your muscle flexibility improves, you will be able increase the number of repetitions and the stretch.

Stretching and toning the muscles in your neck will increase the mobility of your cervical spine, decrease the tension and pain your shoulders feel from overuse, and reduce your chances of suffering a painful shoulder injury.

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