CAN SHOULDER TENSION CAUSE NECK PAIN?
When someone comes to me complaining of neck and shoulder pain, they are usually rubbing their upper shoulder/neck area- their trapezius muscle. On the surface, this muscle seems to be the number one cause for neck and shoulder pain, but I believe trapezius gets a bad rap and it’s often tight chest muscles that are to blame.
There are two postures I share that almost always provide immediate and long-lasting release. One posture is Wild Thing, and the other is a Neck and Shoulders Release that I consider Wild Thing at the wall.
Why do these postures relieve neck pain?
Most people don’t realize how connected the neck and shoulders really are. At this point, I’m sure you’ve heard about fascia and how it weaves over, around, and into all the muscles in our bodies, creating a unified, one-muscle body.
Have you ever opened an orange and seen all the pith fibers around and between each segment? This is like fruit fascia, and our muscles are the same way. Our necks are connected to our shoulders and our shoulders to our chest. Let’s just take a quick peek at the anatomy, shall we?
Shoulder Anatomy: What You Need To Know
There are 3 bones that make up the shoulders
- Collar bone “Clavicle”
- Arm Bone “Humerus”
- Shoulder Blade “Scapula”
There are multiple muscles that attach to one or more of these bones that also connect to your neck and/or head. One muscle is called the Sternocleidomastoid, running from the top of your chest to the back of your neck and skull. When tight, this muscle will pull the head forward and down toward your chest.
The Pectorals Major and Minor muscles attach to the chest, arm bone, shoulder blade, and collar bone. Along with the Trapezius muscle, these will be our focus for today. The Trapezius not only attaches to the neck, spine, skull, and shoulder blade, it also attaches to the collar bone.
THE BIG SECRET
The truth is there are multiple causes for neck and shoulder pain, but the common every day “rub your upper shoulders and neck” kind of pain is typically the result of tight, shortened pectoral muscles. When collar bones are pulled downward and shoulder blades are forced to rise up and forward, the Trapezius is often blamed. But Trapezius is trying to do its job and pull your shoulder blades back down, creating a tug of war.
So what do you do? You start rubbing your Trapezius, asking it to relax, when really what needs to chill are your chest muscles. Release the Pectorals and more often than not, your neck and shoulder pain will go away.
SO CAN SHOULDER TENSION CAUSE NECK PAIN? Absolutely! When we look at all the different muscles that attach to both the neck and shoulders, it’s obvious.
In the September Immersion we worked through three primary shoulder actions in a 75-minute class and then we learned to apply them directly to Wild Thing. Each immersion practice focuses on a different yoga pose in order to develop a greater understanding of our body. Join the next livestream immersion and get lifetime access to all videos when you sign up today!
SOLUTION TO NECK AND SHOULDER PAIN
If you have neck and shoulder pain on a regular basis, or if you simply want to prevent chronic discomfort, then I suggest including at least one pectoral stretch in your daily yoga practice. What if you can’t get on your mat each day? No problem! Stretch your Pectoralis muscles anywhere you find a wall.
As you read this, your arms are likely in front of you. They are for much of our day, which causes shoulders to pull forward. The simple solution is to pull shoulders back. In the video below, I share with you the 3 Steps to Releasing your Neck and Shoulder Pain!
The September Immersion includes the full length class to Wild Thing Pose as well as other peak poses with a heavy emphasis on Shoulder Bio-Mechanics! In this package you get twelve 75-minute yoga classes, 4 of which include guided meditations!
Want to feel better in your shoulders? This is THE immersion to practice!
THE 3-STEP RELEASE
The pictures below are from my teaching on Wild Thing. The actions are exactly the same at the wall but each posture provides slightly different benefits. At the wall, you do not need a yoga mat or to get down on the ground. That makes it easy to access the pose at work or wherever you are. The benefit to Wild Thing on the ground is that it adds a layer of required strength to the back body. This will further support a release of the neck since the back body muscles tend to be weak for most of us.
Step 1 - Elevate the shoulder
Step 1 is to lift your shoulder up toward the ear. This is vital in range of motion and helping your pectoralis muscles to lengthen and to initiate strength from your trapezius.
Step 2: retract shoulder blade
Next, move your shoulder back (retract the shoulder blade toward the spine). This will recruit your back muscles and stretch the Pectoralis major muscle, in particular.
Step 3: Rotate Shoulder Outward
Externally rotate the arm bone. This will pull the top of the shoulder back, stretching Pectoralis Minor. It will also help release a muscle called subscapularis, which tends to cause neck pain.
INLCUDES THE WILD THING CLASS
The September Immersion includes the full-length class to Wild Thing Pose as well as other peak poses with a heavy emphasis on Shoulder Bio-Mechanics! In this package, you will get twelve 75 minute Yoga Classes, 4 of which include guided meditations! So, If you want to get to know your shoulders then this is THE immersion to practice!
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WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT THE LIVE IMMERISONS
Matt‘s classes are phenomenal- if you ever have the ability to practice with him, make use of it!! He has a very unique talent of combining anatomy, yoga philosophy and his own perspective into a super intense package of knowledge which is fun AND easy to understand. I enjoyed the April immersion a lot as it was a great way of deepening my own practice and broadening my horizon, especially as the lifetime access allows you to take classes
as often as you want- trust me, you will want to take them again! I cant wait for next month’s classes and highly recommend everyone to take the May pass and joining in on the journey.
Covid_19 bought Matt into my home and my yoga practice. This last month I have learn’t so much it has deepened my practice and my understanding of the anatomy & biomechanics and how we use both in every asana we practice. He has also helped in my teaching, ie asking my students to think about the foot as a tripod “big toe, pinkie toe, heel ” I never imagined I would learn so much from the immersion.
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