Experiencing tension in your neck is among one of the most common complaints. This is for several reasons. Since the muscles in your neck serve many purposes, including flexible muscles that support the weight of your head, they can easily become irritated and even injured from overuse, among other factors.
To be more specific, muscle tension in the neck refers mainly to muscle spasms or soft tissue injuries.
You may have experienced neck tension and soreness for many years, or it may be a newfound complaint. Perhaps you slept in an uncomfortable position during the night and woke up with tension in your neck.
Whatever the cause of your neck tension, there are different ways to release the tension in your neck. Follow these techniques so you can get your neck feeling in tip-top shape again:
1. Get a Neck Massage
Massage therapy is one of the best ways on how to release tension in your neck. As we mentioned, neck tension is a very common complaint. Ask any massage therapist and they’ll tell you that muscle tension is the number one complaint among their patients.
Luckily, by regularly going for massage therapy sessions, your massage therapist will be able to work your sore and tired muscles and release some of the tension. This is done by stretching and increasing tissue elasticity.
Since high levels of tension in the neck can actually shorten muscle fibres, you will often see restricted movement in the neck. Going for regular massage therapy sessions can help increase the temperature of soft tissue in the neck so muscle fibres can be loosened.
If you’re suffering from muscle tension in your neck, booking a massage therapy session is a good place to start. Your therapist can often recommend other things you can do to help with the muscle tension in your neck as well.
2. Do Your Neck Stretches
Another thing that is highly effective for releasing muscle tension in the neck is doing stretches. There are many different kinds of stretches out there that specifically target the neck and help to remove some of the tension. Doing these multiple times a day will help relieve stress on your neck and give it a better range of movement.
Some stretches that work well for muscle tension include chin to chest stretches, seated neck stretches, and cheek push stretches, to name a few.
You can easily search these stretches online to find out how to do them in online articles or videos. Sometimes, your massage therapist may be able to suggest some stretches to you as well as show you how to do them.
3. Use Ergonomic Furniture
Do you sit at a desk all day? Then one of the best things you can do for your neck is to make sure that your workspace is set up ergonomically.
Some easy changes you can make at your desk include positioning your keyboard one to two inches above your thighs and positioning it down and away from you. Your keyboard and mouse should be shoulder-distance apart and as level as possible.
If you have two monitors, make sure to set them up side by side with no gap, and place the second monitor off-centre. Once that is done, sit back and extend your arm and pan it out in an arch shape. As you pan your arm, your fingertip should almost always touch the monitors.
When it comes to placing other desk items, like a document holder, use the same rule.
Have you tried acupuncture before? This treatment involves using fine needles to stimulate certain spots on your body, in this case, your neck.
Acupuncture can be an effective method in relieving neck tension and pain, but more research is needed to determine how effective it is.
Speak with your massage therapist to see what their take is on acupuncture. It’s always worth trying out a new procedure. You never know, it may just work for you!
5. Apply Heat or Ice
When you’re sitting in front of the TV at home or even the computer, grab an ice pack or a heated sack and place it around your neck. Doing this can help take the edge off the pain and ice can help get some of the swelling down.
This method is cost-effective and something that you can do at home either regularly or when your muscle tension is particularly bad.
6. Pain Medication
While not a long term solution, some over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Advil can go a long way in helping when your pain is at its worst. Advil, for example, reduces inflammation which in turn helps reduce pain.
Reach for one of these especially if you find you are not able to fully move your neck because it’s so stiff.
It’s also a good idea to speak with your doctor to see what they can recommend.
We hope one of these techniques releases the muscle tension in your neck!