Relieving Neck and Shoulder Pain
Here is an article I guest posted on Zesty Things a couple weeks ago.
Now I want to share it with BDSC readers.
A very frequent and big problem I come across with many of my clients is neck pain and shoulder pain. When I first meet with new clients, I ask them if they have any areas with pain or discomfort as part of my initial assessment so that I can develop a workout plan that will not only improve their fitness levels but also their quality of life. Along with smoking, one of the main issues my clients repeatedly mention as a roadblock to fitness is neck pain and shoulder pain. A client complaining of a sore neck is about as common as a client who wishes to lose weight – pretty much all of them.
Neck and Shoulder Pain: Me too
I myself have suffered from shoulder and neck pain for years. For me, it started when I was in a car accident. It took over a year to recover, and I still feel pain from time to time, but that event is what put me on the path to fitness and led me to be a personal trainer. But that’s a story for another time. I will say that it was necessary that I address the underlying cause of my pain and regain the strength and mobility I had lost during my recovery to be able to function normally again.
For my clients, the most common cause of shoulder and neck pain is modern office life: many of us work in offices where we sit hunched over desks glaring at computer screens. Over time, this causes stress on the spine as well as a loss of back strength. This leads to pains in the neck and shoulder area, a stiff neck and difficulty turning, soreness and even numbness.
Eventually, that feeling can radiate to other parts of the body such as the arms and fingers. Stiffness in the neck and shoulders can also lead to blurred vision as nerves are pinched, headaches, and even will affect balance and coordination. In extreme situations, intraocular pressure can develop, or loss of bladder control arises if the neck pain and shoulder pain is not addressed and allowed to develop into a more serious issue. A chronically sore neck will eventually affect your work performance.
The first step is to figure out what is causing your neck and shoulder pain. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and look at yourself. Are your head and face pitched forward? Do your shoulders droop and slope? These are signs that your neck, and upper back, muscles are weak. This allows the upper part of your body to drift forward. Turn to the side. Are your back and shoulders nice and straight or is your back rounded? In other words, bad posture is to blame.
See Your Doctor
If you have been feeling neck and shoulder pain for more than four weeks, or if you have begun to feel numbness and tingling, you should see a doctor. You also want to rule out more serious causes such as arthritis, herniated discs and degenerative disc disease, meningitis, swollen lymph nodes, and various syndromes that can only be identified by a health professional. These causes will require x-rays and MRI scans to identify.