This month is recognized as being Stress Awareness Month, but let’s face it stress happens every month of the year and awareness of it is an essential part of changing the relationship we have with it.

What I have noticed from working with different clients is that stress hides, shows up and lingers within us differently, but neck and shoulders seems to have some consistency. Do you experience tight neck muscles, stiff shoulders, perhaps burning sensation of overused muscles in the upper back? Well this article is dedicated to you. These tips, if done, frequently enough will help to promotes more functional movement patterns.

Also remember partner the movements with your breath. The breath should be a medium to help you create and feel the movement within your spine and the other problem areas. Coordinating the breath serves to re-educate your body at a neuromuscular level, which will help you to transform the dysfunctional movement patterns.

When at work try this:

1. Place your elbows on your desk, push your chair back so your can release your head in between your arms, press your hands together behind your head in prayer position and then take 10-15 deep, smooth breaths.

2. Position yourself so that your back is straight and is not supported by your chair. Grasp your elbows with your arms behind your body. Feel your shoulders roll back and your chest expand. Roll your shoulders down your back with each exhale.

3. Place both arms at the side of your body. Your back pressed against the back of your chair or if you able to stand again a wall even better. Right arm actively stretches down flexing your hand so your fingers are flexed away from your body. Bend your head towards your left shoulder and take 5 deep breathes into the stretch along the right side of your neck. Inhale your head to neutral and then do the same for the other side.

4. Seated cat and cow pose is great for the entire spine and is a great way to stretch if you are prone to sitting at a desk and working on a monitor. Simply place your hands on your thighs, inhale as you straighten your arms, roll your shoulders back arching your back and widening your chest. Then with an exhale round your back, breathe your shoulders forward and gently allow your chin to melt closer to your chest. Inhale and repeat.

Some other general tips to prevent neck and shoulder pain is related to the increase of texting and looking at our phone has contributed to the increase in neck and shoulder misalignment. Try to stop looking down at your phone while you walk! This action causes your neck to overstretch in a position that is not natural and when sitting to be on your phone try to do it at eye level.

Think about rolling your shoulders down and together on your back any time you can. Good posture allows the neck to be in its ideal, least taxing position.

Be mindful of the position of your chin. Try to tuck your chin closer to your neck. We often position our chin forward, as we are constantly looking and moving forward: another unnatural position for the neck that causes strain.

Remember Your Time is N.O.W. Don’t procrastinate, committing to small healthy lifestyles can make a big difference.

Wishing you a healthy neck and a healthy life.