neck and shoulder pain

These days, we all have more than enough stress weighing us down. Many people experience changes to their physical body because of this stress. Tension in your shoulders or difficulty maintaining good posture are some ways stress can show up in your body. Do you feel like you’re rounded forward? Does sitting up straight hurt your muscles more than slouching? Are you wearing your shoulders like earrings?

Here are three quick tips to keep your shoulders and stress where they are supposed to be!

  1. Watch your breathing!

When we are stressed we can take more shallow “chest” breaths. This means that we use the muscles in our neck and shoulders to move the top half of our torso up and down to get breaths. Breathing in this manner can increase the muscle tension many of us already experience in our neck and shoulders. To breathe correctly, we need to use our diaphragm or “belly breaths.” During belly breathing, our chest and shoulders stay relatively stationary. Our belly moves down and out during inhalation allowing for our lungs to expand downward. Then as you exhale, your diaphragm moves up and your abdomen returns to a normal or more flat position. This gif shows the proper motion of a belly breath.

  1. Give your pectoral muscles a good stretch.

The muscles on either side of your chest (that lie underneath any breast tissue) are called your pectoral muscles. When we are stressed, these muscles frequently get tight and contribute to a posture with your shoulders rounded forward. Stretching out your chest muscles can help create a more open posture that will enable you to take fuller breaths and help decrease the postural changes that can happen with stress. Try stretching your pecs in a corner, a doorway, against a wall, or laying on your back.

  1. Get adjusted!

Chiropractic adjustments help physical reactions to stress in many ways. When you get adjusted, your body is able to achieve a more natural alignment. This alignment allows messages to move more freely from your brain to your body, and from your body back to your brain. The adjustment reduces stress by restoring function, relaxing muscles, and releasing feel-good neurochemicals. Also, muscles are able to relax and this makes it easier for you to maintain better posture. A chiropractic adjustment unlocks your innate ability to better adapt to stressors.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is intended to be for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. Each individual is unique and requires an examination by a licensed health care provider for appropriate medical decision making and care. If you are experiencing health issues similar to what is described here, please contact our office for more information and/or for a phone consultation. This allows us to ask more questions about your case and to help decide if chiropractic care at Breath of Life is right for you. As always, for emergencies, please contact your local Emergency Services.