• Diana Anderson


It’s too easy to ignore a small discomfort like tension in your neck or shoulders, and learn to live with it.

· This tension can lead to bigger problems, however, including a developing migraine. Finding new habits that help you avoid this discomfort can have a big payoff in an improved sense of well-being and maybe even fewer headaches.

· Muscle tension plagues many adults in modern society. It is an indicator of a too-common, fast-paced lifestyle. Always pushing to do more with no time to relax compels your muscles to knot up and produce pain, often in the neck or shoulders.

· Although neck or shoulder pain is a frequent issue for many people, most don’t know why. The answer is simpler than you may realize. The number one reason is shallow breathing: this causes you to use your shoulder muscles to breathe.

Shoulder muscles are not designed to be used all day to assist with the intake of oxygen. The diaphragm, the large muscle in the lower part of the rib cage, is designed for that. When we are stressed, often due to overthinking and not being fully present with activities, we may have very bad posture and use chest and shoulder muscles as part of breathing. If used this way for long periods of time, these muscles will tire out, tense up, and get uncomfortably tight. 

If this sounds familiar, here are some simple tips and tricks to help you soon be free of shoulder or neck stiffness. Just remember that trick numbers 1 and 2 are not optional. To release the muscles, you must belly breathe and relax your jaw.

  1. Drop your breath into your belly and become aware of your breathing. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes and work to make it your natural breathing habit.

  2. Until your shoulders are relaxed, keep your jaw relaxed and your teeth apart while you drop your shoulders down. Relax until saliva is accumulating in your mouth. A dry mouth is a sign of tension.

  3. Wiggle your spine around for five full minutes.

  4. Slowly caress your neck and shoulder muscles and/or have someone give you a deep shoulder rub.

  5. Do stretches for the pectoral muscle, trapezius muscle, neck, and back.

  6. Rub one of the following creams and products on your aching muscles:

  7. Vicks Vapor Rub   (oily with strong smell, but it works)

  8. Chinese White Flower   (oily with strong smell, but it works)

  9. Arnica Liniment

  10. Activ Hemp Relief

These creams help relax your muscles and some stimulate breathing with their scents. Keep in mind that any work you do to relax the tension will not last without applying the first and second suggestion. Every other tip and trick will help it go away, but the issue will return without proper breathing. Breathe slowly and deeply with your diaphragm as the workhorse and you will stay peaceful and distress-free.

Also see these helpful videos on relaxed breathing:



Happy breathing!!!