• To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

    - Buddha

Are You Your Own Pain in the Neck?

Throughout the day, many of us are literally our own “pain in the neck” due to bad habits causing stiffness, pain, and limited movement in the neck, shoulders, and arms. Your neck is extremely flexible compared to other parts of your body. The neck is composed of seven cervical vertebrae that connect your head to your body and to your nervous system.

Certain people are predisposed to acute and chronic neck pain due to their occupations. Performing daily repetitive tasks, sitting for prolonged periods of time, and using your upper body puts you at a greater risk of developing neck pain. Other causes include strains or sprains, inflammation and/or general wear-and-tear.

As a Shiatsu healer I see many clients with complaints that are work related. If you suffer from neck pain then read further to determine the cause, learn about my favorite therapeutic neck exercises based on the Japanese art of acupressure and how to use a simple hand held, pressure point massager that really works. You can watch a how to video at http://www.minirelaxationbreak.com.

Here are a few of the most common causes of neck pain:

1. Bad Posture. Bending or hunching forward for prolonged periods causes stress on your neck and can cause strains or sprains to the muscles and ligaments. This is common at work when you’re sitting in front of the computer, during long drives, if you’re reading in bed, or even talking on the phone. Also sleeping in an awkward position is another common cause of neck strain.

2. Injuries, Trauma And Motor Vehicle Accidents. This is often the obvious cause of acute neck pain and whiplash. Common injuries include falling down, direct trauma to your neck, sports-related injuries, and auto accidents.

3. Health Conditions. For some people herniated or protruding disks in the neck can cause tension, pain and limited range of movement. Arthritis is also a cause of chronic pain, as can seasonal viruses like the flu. (One way to determine if you have a disk problem is to sit in the lotus position. Place your palms on top of your head. If you experience pain, it may signal a disk problem.)

4. Stress. Stressed out and anxious leads to tension and even spasms in the muscles of your neck, shoulders and back. It is critical that you learn and use simple relaxation techniques to combat stress.

How can acupressure and holistic health exercises help? The objective is simple: to relieve tension and pain that is related to posture, injury, medical conditions or stress by improving your cervical mobility.

Shiatsu based exercises for the neck take a holistic, or whole-body, approach to your health. Shiatsu is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ki (pronounced kee) is the vital energy that energizes your body and protects you from illness and pain. It flows through pathways called meridians to nourish and support every cell, tissue, muscle, organ and gland in your body. When there is an imbalance or blockage in the flow of Ki, physical symptoms such as neck pain often results.

If you have a diagnosed disk problem, such as a herniated disk in your cervical or lumbar spine, it could signal a problem in the liver or kidneys. Shiatsu exercises also help to stimulate and restore your Ki energy to the liver and kidneys, as well as the cervical spine. Shiatsu for the neck can be psychologically and physically soothing; it can benefit your nervous system and reduce stress.