What causes tension in your neck and shoulders?


The neck and shoulders are where you’re most likely to experience stress or anxiety-related tension. Chronic pain and other health problems can develop over time because of this. These are some causes of neck and shoulder tension:

Repetitive motion: People who work in occupations that require them to perform repetitive movements often strain the muscles in their necks.

Bad posture: The average adult’s head weighs 10 to 11 pounds. When good posture does not support this weight properly, the neck muscles are forced to work harder than they should, which can cause strain.

Exercise and sports: Whether you’re lifting weights in a way that engages the neck muscles or whipping your head around during a sports game, physical activity is a common cause of minor neck injury and strain.

Poor sleep position: When you sleep, align your head and neck with the rest of your body. Sleeping with large pillows that elevate your neck too much can cause tension to build up while you sleep.

Heavy bags: Carrying heavy bags, especially those with straps going over your shoulder, can throw your body out of balance. The weight can strain one side of your neck, which allows tension to build.

Stress: Stress can have a profound effect on the physical body. When you’re under a lot of pressure, your neck muscles may unintentionally get tense and strained.  

Trauma: When you’re injured, such as in a car accident or fall, you may experience whiplash. Whiplash can occur when the muscles in the neck are overworked and the neck snaps back abruptly.

Tension headaches: Tension headaches are mild to moderate dull headaches that typically affect the forehead. Neck tension can cause headaches and neck tenderness.

Clenching of teeth: Bruxism is a sleep disorder in which persons grind or clench their teeth. Pressure on the jaw and neck muscles caused by grinding or clenching teeth can result in neck stress, pain, and headaches.

What is the best treatment for neck and shoulder pain?

Physiotherapy is the best method for neck, shoulder and lower back pain treatment. It helps relieve tensions in the neck and shoulders, leading to pain relief, without the need for any surgery. These are some of the private physiotherapy activities that one can adopt:

Use heat or ice

Most times, the application of heat or ice provides immediate pain relief. Use a warm shower or a heating pad to help loosen up tense muscles and improve circulation. Using an ice pack for 20 minutes throughout the day can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Over-the-counter medicine

You can treat neck and shoulder pain with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol). These medications don’t require a prescription, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely risk-free either. Consult your physician to determine if you are healthy enough to use over-the-counter medications.

Stretching and strengthening

Stretching may be an effective way to ease discomfort and stiffness. A physical therapist might tell you to do many types of strengthening exercises to help you get better from an injury while also enhancing other parts of your body, like your core. You want to be stronger than before the injury so that it doesn’t happen again.

Joint mobilisation

This is another type of therapy that needs the help of a physical therapist. It aims to improve the mobility of an injured shoulder by stretching the joint capsule. Only physical therapists can do it because it requires a lot of knowledge about anatomy.


This doesn’t refer to the same thing as diagnostic ultrasound. Therapeutic ultrasound is a type of physical therapy for shoulder pain that treats the muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues with deep heat. The heat increases blood flow through the tissue, which relieves pain and helps the injury heal.

If you are experiencing tension in your shoulders and neck, Vita Health Group can help. Get in touch today to discuss your options.

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