Stress builds up as your body reacts to intense life experiences. Work responsibilities, financial hardships, family or personal challenges, and even changes to your environment can accumulate stress. While it is a natural reaction that can be helpful in certain circumstances, excessive amounts of stress for prolonged periods of time can eventually take a toll on your body.
Stress and Pain
Stress causes your muscles to tense up and your breathing to speed up. Prolonged contractions of major muscles can trigger neck stiffness, shoulder tightness, and tension headaches. When stressful events or experiences affect you, it’s important to learn how to cope with the stress and take care of yourself.
Exercises to Relieve Stress-Related Tension
Try to add the following exercises to your routine to help ease any stress-related aches and pains.
*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor. ⠀
Seated Neck Stretch
🔸Sit with your back straight.⠀
🔸Tilt and turn your head to one side.⠀
🔸Nod your head forward until you feel a stretch along the side and back of the neck.⠀
🔸Apply extra pressure (gently) with your hand to increase the stretch if needed.⠀
🔸Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.⠀
Shoulder Release with Lacrosse Ball
🔹Begin by leaning against the wall with the lacrosse ball just above the shoulder blade.⠀⠀⠀⠀
🔹Slightly squat down angled towards the wall until you feel pressure on the muscle.⠀⠀
🔹Scan the area for tender areas and rest the ball on those spots for no more than 15-20 seconds in each area.
🔹To increase the intensity of the exercise, cross your working arm across the body.⠀⠀
🔹Avoid any numbness or tingling and be careful not to bruise the tissue from extended pressure.⠀⠀
🔹Repeat for up to 1 minute on each side, no more than twice a day.
Cat/Camel Stretch for Thoracic Mobility
🔹Start on all fours with your back straight, hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips.⠀ ⠀
🔹Next, slowly inhale and let the belly fall toward the floor to arch the back and extend the head at the same time. ⠀
🔹Next, slowly exhale, round the back and tuck the chin to the chest. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀
🔹Alternate between these two positions slowly. ⠀⠀⠀⠀
🔹Complete 10 repetitions, 1-2 times per day.
Keeping Stressful Injuries in Check
While exercise and self-care can help reduce stress and maintain your health, it may not always be enough. Sometimes life throws a curveball, leaving you with an injury that just won’t go away on its own.
If nagging aches and pains have been cutting into your daily routine, don’t put your life on hold. Schedule an appointment with Airrosti today. Our providers aim to uncover the root cause of pain and address your injuries, combining hands-on manual therapy with customizable active rehab exercises that help restore the body’s strength, stability, and mobility. We also share valuable tools and resources designed to get you back to doing the things you love most.
Read our Medical Disclaimer here.