There are a number of muscle, nerve, and fascial connections between your neck and shoulder. As a result, pain in one region can easily pass over and lead to pain in the other region too. Your neck consists of seven vertebrae, with joints between the bodies of each vertebra. You can quite possibly have a problem with any of these joints because of wear and tear, poor posture, muscle imbalance, or a prolonged static position.
This can cause pain around your neck area while referring pain to other parts of your body too because of the distribution of nerves from your neck. Therefore, pain that arises in your neck can get manifested in other places. If you have lower and middle neck problems, it can cause hand and shoulder pain, while upper neck pain can cause jaw pain and headaches.
How You Can Get A Stiff Neck
Stiff neck or text neck is a common condition that’s caused because of poor posture, high stress and anxiety levels, or an awkward sleeping position.1 If you have an incorrect neck posture, you’ll also have a poor shoulder posture in all probability.
You can also have problems with your neck and shoulder if you have a desk job that requires you to stare at a computer screen for long hours or if you spend a lot of time sitting in one position. This way, you can end up with a forward head posture where the back of your neck gets compressed and your shoulders begin to round forwards.
How Pilates Exercises Help To Correct Text Neck
You need to take care when you have a neck or shoulder injury. But, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work out to try and help the situation a little. If you’re looking to avoid a forward head posture or suffering from a sore neck, Pilates exercises offer an ideal solution by helping you resolve your neck pain and improving your ability to function throughout the day.2
Besides working to balance the muscles around your shoulders, Pilates exercises also work your shoulders in different positions to achieve mobility and dynamic stability. This way, your shoulders get the support they need to achieve a full range of movement. Additionally, your shoulders and neck are encouraged to work together and achieve an improved posture throughout your upper body. This makes Pilates a great option to prevent and treat neck and shoulder problems.3
Some Pilates exercises also use your body weight to encourage correct control around your shoulders while maintaining proper neck alignment. With specific and controlled movements, you’ll be able to encourage good coordination between your muscles and allow them to switch on in the correct sequence. This’s absolutely vital for good shoulder function.
Here are a couple of Pilates exercises that can help you strengthen your neck and shoulder muscles.
1. Scapula Isolation
This exercise involves a fairly small range of motion and works only the tiny muscles in the middle of your back. To begin with, lie on your back with your legs bent at the knees and your feet resting about hip-distance apart. Now, reach your hands straight up toward the ceiling, palms facing in. Keep your head down, inhale and reach your shoulders off the mat, stretching up. Exhale as you pull your shoulders back down to the mat and repeat the process.
2. Head Nod
This exercise promotes neck stability. Follow the same initial position as the scapula isolation exercise, but with your hands resting at your sides. Now, tuck your chin in toward your chest. Then, lift your head off the mat slowly while keeping your chin tucked. Keep your head on the floor for as long as possible on the chin tuck, allowing this to naturally lead in to the neck lift. Untuck your chin, lower your head back down to the mat and repeat the process.
3. Roll up
This exercise helps you prevent the forward head posture by challenging your deep cervical flexion muscles. For starters, lie on your back and raise your arms over your head. Now, squeeze your abdominal muscles and make sure your lower back stays flat against the floor. Then, inhale and tuck your chin as you slowly roll your spine up to a sitting position and reach your arms toward your toes. Exhale and lower yourself back down to the starting position. Repeat this exercise at least 10 times for the best results.
4. The Swan
This exercise activates your cervical paraspinal as well as several different muscles in your scapular region. To begin with, lie on your stomach with your hands beside your shoulders. Now, inhale and press your upper body and neck off the ground and in to the air. Then, exhale and bend your elbows as you let your upper body roll back down to the ground. Continue to inhale and exhale as you slowly go up and down. Repeat this exercise at least 10 times for the best results.
Note: Try not to overdo any of them as it can make things worse. So, it’s important that you keep your movements fairly small and very controlled.