It’s hard to dispute that New York City is the best city in the world. With an endless number of options for dining and drinking, combined with enough theater productions, art galleries, and historical architecture and landmarks to last several lifetimes, it makes sense why New Yorkers live such fastpaced lives; there is simply too much to do and not enough time to do it all!
Unfortunately, along with the fast-paced life comes an increased amount of stress. For those working in Manhattan offices, this stress often manifests itself in stiff and pain-ridden necks. Sitting at a desk for hours every day might be necessary for some, but it also puts increased strain on the upper body, leading to chronic stiffness and pain. Even worse, those most stressed and in need of relief from neck pain are often the very people who simply do not have time in their busy schedules to schedule massages.Why it’s Important to Treat Neck Pain
Neck pain is more than just an inconvenience. There are numerous scientific studies that have shown chronic neck pain to have long-term negative implications on overall health. In fact, some studies indicate that untreated neck pain that results from sitting in an office chair can even reduce life expectancy. Pain felt in the neck is the body’s way of indicating that something is wrong. Don’t ignore the signals your body gives you!
Relieving Neck Pain Without a Massage
While a professional massage is the best way to relieve neck and shoulder pain, there are also several ways to relieve pain yourself. The following are a few of the most effective ways to relieve neck and shoulder pain yourself. Best of all, they can be done right from your office!
Upper Trapezius Muscle Stretch
The Upper Trapezius muscle stretch is an easy way to reduce neck pain. This particular stretch is actually a combination of three different stretches:
First, sit straight up with your left hand on the left side of your head with your fingers pointed behind you. Part one of the stretch involves carefully pulling your head forward toward your chest; hold this position for 20 seconds or so. Next, carefully push your head towards your right shoulder, again holding for about 20 seconds. Finally, push your neck halfway between stretch one and two, which should more or less be between the chest and right shoulder. Make sure to repeat these steps on the other side of your head with your other hand.
Levator Scapulae Stretch
The Levator Scapulae Stretch is slightly more difficult, but is absolutely worth the effort. To perform this stretch, grab the side of your chair with your right hand. Tilt your body to the left while keeping your head upright. Turn your head about halfway to the left, put your left hand behind your neck, and carefully pull for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat this with the other side. Make sure to watch the video linked above if you’re unsure about the proper technique for this stretch.
Tight Rhomboid muscles can be one of the primary causes of neck pain. Fortunately, stretching them is easy! First, take your arms and cross them, with each hand on the opposite shoulder (like you’re giving yourself a hug). Next, lift both elbows as high as possible, being careful not to hurt yourself.
You should feel a stretch in the mid-back (that’s your Rhomboid muscles!). The second Rhomboid stretch is just as easy: Take your left arm and bring it across your chest so your hand is pointing to the right. Take your right
arm and push it against the left so there is a pulling sensation in the mid-left part of your back. Repeat this for the other side.
Everyday Habits to Reduce Neck Pain
Stretches aren’t the only way to reduce neck pain from sitting in an office chair every day. In fact, you can significantly reduce neck pain simply by making sure your computer monitor are at eye level when you are sitting straight up. Studies have shown that the head adds 20 pounds of weight to the neck and shoulders for every 10 degrees it is pitched up or down. By putting your monitor at eye level, you can keep the pitch as close to zero degrees as possible. Another easy tip is to stand for at least a minute or two every hour. This will improve circulation throughout the body, and can even improve your focus in the office!
By utilizing these simple stretches and minor workspace adjustments, you can dramatically reduce neck pain, leaving you to enjoy living in the greatest and most fast-paced city in the world!