I really love a bit of good preventative medicine and neck and shoulder pains are an easy area where you can apply this preventative principle, using mindfulness.
Where do neck and shoulder pains come from?
Before you can start applying mindfulness to healing yourself you need to understand where these aches and pains are coming from. There are two main areas of our body that cause these problems:
- It’s pretty common to spend many of hours in our daily lives either looking forwards or downwards. This means your neck is extended and your head is balanced on the ‘end of a pole’. The result is high levels of tension in the back of your neck.
- We often work with our arms and our hands in front of us which creates tension in the front of the shoulders and the back of the shoulders. And when these areas are working hard, your upper back and neck muscles become involved too.
- When driving
- When reading papers, books or documents
- When looking at your mobile or your tablet.
We have lots of things in our lives that ‘force’ us to look downwards and forwards more often than not!
Exacerbated by stress, anxiety or frustration
These ‘looking downwards and forwards’ types of postures can be exacerbated by feeling stress, anxiety or frustration. These feelings cause you to tighten up along the front of your body and make you sink into yourself and in the process creating, even more, neck and shoulder tension.
The optimal position for your head is for it to be balanced between your shoulders. But when you are tired, uptight, stressed and working hard your head will move forward from its balanced position. Your neck and shoulders will tighten up as part of that forward-moving action.
Stop neck and shoulder pain using mindfulness
Do these simple exercises:
- When is your head tilted forwards or downwards?
- When are your arms are coming forwards?
- Do you lean a lot? Or use a phone and hold it between your shoulder and ear?
2) Write down what is causing you stress or other emotions that might be exaggerating the tightening up around the front of your body and into your shoulders.When you have done that, do a short meditation. Meditation is a brilliant way of calming your thoughts. When you have a calm mind-space it’s a lot easier to relax your muscles and bring your head back into balance. Also to work out solutions to the problems that are causing you to tighten up in the first place.After doing your meditation practice, go back and look at your notes. Work out ways that you can stop these problems occurring so often
3) When you have done that, do a short meditation. Meditation is a brilliant way of calming your thoughts! When you have a calm mind-space it’s a lot easier to relax your muscles and bring your head back into balance. It’s also much easier to work out solutions to the problems that are causing you to tighten up in the first place.
4) Go back and look at your notes. With your calm and peaceful headspace, work out ways that you can stop these problems occurring so often and or so intensively. Then put those solutions into action.
Mindfulness makes you aware of your body and mind
Mindfulness is a great way of being aware of what you are doing with your body and what you are doing with your mind. The best way to become really good at this is by learning to meditate. To do meditation on a regular basis.
I would also love to hear any comments you have about the suggestions that I have given you on how to prevent shoulder aches and pains. Pop those in the box underneath this video and I look forward to hearing from you.
The programmes I talk about in this video are no longer available as I am re-editing them. INSTEAD, Try my Nine Breaths for a Calmer Mind download. This will teach you a lovely calming meditation, good for body and mind and will add you to my mailing list so you will be the first to know when my new training programmes are published.
Further reading for Pain Relief
How to stop Back, Leg and Bum pain (3 parts)
Part 1 – Assess how you sit
Part 2 – Assess how you stand
Part 3 – Assess your own body