There are a number of reasons for stiffness of the neck and shoulder. Some of the most common reasons are arthritis, problems with the disks, muscles that are either too weak or too tight and rigid. Exercising and stretching the muscles and ligaments can certainly help in relieving muscle tightness and tension.
While the benefits of these exercises and stretches are quite obvious, you should perform them only after you have received an okay from your personal physician or an orthopedist. This is because there could be some physical conditions which could be causing this problem and it is important to identify the same and then go in for such exercises and stretches.
There could be situations where one set of exercises could be helpful in one case but contradictory in another. Hence, it would be best to let your doctor take a call on the sort of exercises that you should go in for when it comes to managing stiff neck and shoulder.
Let us over the next few lines try and have a look at some of the exercises which could help in alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with stiff neck and stiff shoulders.
1. Neck Rolls
Neck rolls are said to be very helpful in relieving stiff neck. The best thing about this exercise is that it can be done frequently and it helps keep your neck loose during the day when you need to be active. You can perform half neck rolls by moving your neck from one ear to the other and also by dropping your head.
However you must not drop your head back which could compress the nerves in the back. It would be ideal to aim for 8 to 12 neck rolls on each side. Holding your shoulder to the ear for a few seconds and doing some deep breathing exercises could also be very beneficial. However, it is vital that your shoulders should be kept down and must remain in a relaxed position. As mentioned above, you can perform a number of neck rolls each day provided you are comfortable doing them.
2. Head Turns
Head turns if done properly can be very useful in overcoming stiff neck and stiff shoulders. This exercise has to be done by turning the head and looking right to left. As you progress you should try and look behind a further. The shoulders should always be kept down. These exercises are very helpful especially for those who work regularly on computer. Further when you are working in front of the computer it is advisable for you to take regular breaks to prevent stiff neck and stiff shoulders.
3. Overhead Lift
Overhead Lift is a wonderful exercise which can be very helpful in relieving pain and discomfort associated with stiff shoulders. Though a gentle exercise it is considered to be very effective. If you are not able to lift your arm overhead, you could try lying on your back and use the normal arm to help bring the affected arm overhead. You could clasp both your hands while lifting your arms overhead. Making proper and correct use of the strong arm to help the stiff arm become supple and normal is very important.
4. Body Shoulder Stretch
Another common and popular exercise for stiff neck and stiff shoulder is across the body shoulder stretch. This exercise is done by bringing your arm across our body and by holding the elbow. The elbow should be gently pressed towards you chest. The shoulders should be in a relaxed position and should be held down. You should be in this position till you take five or 10 deep breaths. The main emphasis should be to relax while you are doing this exercise. You should repeat this exercise on both the sides. This exercise does provide a gentle stretch for the shoulders. Combining both neck and shoulder stretches with a good posture can certainly help in preventing pain and stiffness.
Apart from the above, head press and Yoga Shoulder Strap Stretches are also considered very effective for stiff neck and stiff shoulders. By pressing the hands back towards the head will help in bringing proper alignment between shoulders and neck. On the other hand Yoga Shoulder Strap Stretches will help in greater range of motion.