Yoga for back and neck pain can help many people who suffer from tension. It is very common for people to hold a lot of stress in these two areas. This stress and tension leads to headaches and sometimes, permanent injuries. It is so important to take good care of your neck and back for healthy living.
Yoga stretches for neck pain can help prevent slouching which is one of the main causes of tension. Think of how long you sit at a desk or sit on a sofa. Gradually, your body starts to give in to the weight and begins to lose the strength to keep it upright. Yoga helps strengthen the muscles so that they are loose and strong. You just need to know the poses!
Yoga Benefits For Neck Pain
Yoga for neck pain can be useful, however, we always recommend that you speak to a professional. The neck and back are very sensitive areas with a lot of nerves and ligaments. The last thing you want to do is overstretch or bend in a wrong way that will cause you more damage than good.
With more than 75% of individuals suffering from neck pain at some stage in their lives, it is no wonder so many people are turning to yoga for help. Below we list yoga benefits with accordance to body area it affects:
Yoga for neck pain and headaches can definitely help you relax and let go of stress. There are a number of reasons why people get headaches, and the exact reason why it can be difficult to know. Most reasons seem to stem from neck pain and muscle tension at trigger points.
Where your skull meets your spine, there are many muscles that are responsible for the movements. These muscles become strained for reasons such as not wearing glasses when you need them, sitting badly at your desk, slouching, and neck trauma from an accident.
Yoga poses for neck pain and headaches focus on relaxing these muscles by way of introducing gentle movements and letting gravity do its work. Many poses work on multiple areas, so you will find yourself doing a Cobra pose which focuses on your lower back, but also the neck.
This is what makes Yoga so effective. You are constantly working on relaxing and strengthening multiple parts of the body at the same time.
- Upper back
Yoga for upper back and neck pain helps the growing number of people who complain about problems to physical therapists. Although yoga does help aid the problem, it is also not the only answer. When you feel pain in those core areas, you are asking your body to stay in a position that it is not meant to be in.
As well as yoga poses for upper back and neck pain, you should find out where the problem is coming from. What is it you are doing that is causing so much strain in those muscles? Check your posture, your movements, and ask for help in finding out what you can change in terms of your habits.
Yoga for neck and shoulder pain relief targets the full area of the upper back, shoulder blades, and the connection of the spine to the skull. Tight shoulders are connected to the trapezius muscles. These muscles run from the back of the neck, down the spine to between the shoulder blades.
Yoga postures for neck and shoulder pain will not only help those areas, but also the chest and arms which are supported by your trapezius muscles. Poses will help you lengthen, strengthen, and open the whole top part of your body from your chest, back, and to your neck.
Types of Yoga For Back Pain
Different type of yoga has its own impact on our body. We always recommend choosing the type of yoga based on the existing problem and the desired result. In case of back pain problems we would like to highlight the following types of yoga practices:
Yin yoga for upper back and neck pain
Yin yoga for neck pain is perfect for practitioners at all levels. This type of yoga is slow-moving, gentle and easy-going making it easy for beginners to more advanced yogis. Yin yoga focuses on the connective tissue around the ligaments.
Each pose is held for 3 to 5 minutes. The breathing is slow, deep and with each breath you sink more into the pose, releasing the tension that has built up around your neck, back, and shoulders.
Restorative yoga for neck and shoulder pain
Restorative yoga poses for neck pain and headaches are similar to Yin yoga. Both practices focus on relaxation rather than strengthening. Restorative yoga makes use of multiple props to help you target certain areas that are hard to release tension from.
As the props help you focus on the main areas of tension, all you need to do is relax into the pose and let go. Restorative yoga is usually accompanied by breathwork and meditation which can also contribute positively to letting go of stress and reduce headaches.
Hatha yoga for neck and shoulder pain
Hatha yoga for neck pain has been growing in popularity among women which is not surprising seeing as women are 1.38 times more likely to suffer from neck pain than men. Hatha yoga comprises healing techniques that help you develop good posture habits and body awareness.
Hatha yoga for shoulder and neck pain focuses on the triangular shape of the body that helps us keep our balance. What makes Hatha so popular is that it focuses on stimulating the circulation of the body by setting up regions that have high pressure and low pressure reaching the heart. The word Hatha comes from the word “ha” which means pressure.
Iyengar yoga for neck pain
Iyengar yoga for neck pain is similar to hatha yoga. It focuses on alignment and pressure. Studies with over 570 participants have shown that Iyengar yoga can contribute positively to the relief of tension in the neck, back, and shoulders.
It is one of the most popular forms of yoga and its teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar is accredited with bringing Yoga to the western world. What makes Iyengar so special is its focus on alignment which for neck and shoulder pain suffers is important.
Bikram yoga to release beck and back tension
Is bikram yoga good for neck pain? If you like to do yoga in a hot room, then yes. The heat helps relax the muscles and tension that build up around the neck area. Bikram yoga is done in a room of 40 degrees celsius and 50 percent humidity.
Benefits of hot yoga for neck pain include increased flexibility which is exactly what your tense muscles need. A study in 2013 showed improved flexibility among participants who joined three sessions of hot yoga each week.
Chair yoga neck and back pain
Chair yoga for back and neck pain is perfect for people who have health issues and older in age. Almost all yoga poses can be replicated for chair yoga. In chair yoga, people sit on the chair during a pose or use it as a prop.
Chair yoga poses for neck pain and shoulder are great if your pain is chronic. Yoga can be difficult to get into or feel comfortable doing, especially if you are already dealing with an issue. Chair yoga reduces anxiety of doing the pose in a wrong way and increases relaxation and spatial awareness.
Nidra yoga for neck pain
Nidra yoga is definitely one of a kind among all the practices. This style of yoga focuses on releasing tension by bringing you into a sort of sleep state. You lay flat on your body and concentrate on relaxing key areas of the body.
Slowly, you will start to feel the connections in the body: where it pinches, tingles, and strains. This type of yoga is very much geared towards meditation which itself can be the key you need to relax your body – taking the time to breathe in deeply and loosen the muscles. You’ll be surprised how much tension you can release with just a Savasana pose.
Best Yoga Poses For Neck Pain To Practice At Home
Yoga poses for neck pain, black, and shoulder pain come in many different varieties. Before you begin, speak to a professional to make sure that the poses you have selected are correct for you – especially if you have chronic pain. The last thing you want to do is make it worse.
For example, yoga poses for cervical neck pain must be done with the utmost care. Cervical neck pain comes from wearing and tearing the cartilage where the neck joins the vertebrates. With this type of pain, it is best not to bring your head back and stick to forward poses.
Here are 4 simple yoga exercises for shoulders, back, and neck pain:
Uttanasana – Standing forward bend
Standing forward bends may seem easy to do, but in reality, some people find it difficult to bend forward. Days sitting in front of the computer and not exercises can stiffen the muscles. Keep your feet together, stand tall, and slowly bend forward starting from the lower vertebrates. Keep your head looking forward until you finally reach the connection between the neck and spine.
Lower your head too and feel the release of tension in your upper back, shoulder blades and neck. Hold the pose for a few deep breaths and bring yourself back up to flat back. Bend forward again if you’d like. When bringing yourself back, slowly roll your back up starting again from the lower connections, and bring your neck up last.
Sukhasana Parivrtti – Easy seated twist
Sit with your legs crossed in front and your spine upright. Put your left hand on your opposite knee and your right hand behind you on the floor, close to your lower back. Inhale, exhale, and twist your body, and head towards your right shoulder. Inhale, exhale and push further towards the right.
On the last inhale, keep your spine straight and bend your neck towards the left. This creates a bigger stretch on the right side of the neck. Do this for a few breaths more, release the pose and start again with the other side.
Uttana Shishosana – Puppy pose
This pose is a perfect blend of a child’s pose and downward-facing dog. Start with a tabletop position. Slowly bring your hand and arms forward. As your body moves closer to the edge of the mat, bring your chest down keeping your knees in the same starting position. Keep your hips lifted over your knees.
Breathe in and hold for thirty seconds. This is a great pose for the spine and the shoulder blades. Slowly come back up using your arms to push you back towards the tabletop position.
Dhanurasana – Bow pose
This is one of the best yoga exercises for neck pain and spondylosis. It is a difficult back-bending pose, and should not be done by yourself if you are in chronic pain or new to yoga.
Lay flat on your belly with your arms down the sides of your body. As you bend your knees, lifting your feet up in the air, grab hold of your calves or feet with your hands. You now look like an archer’s bow. Keep your pubic bone on the floor and lift the lower part of your belly to increase the stretch. When you have finished, release your ankles and slowly bring your body back down.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it does. Yoga can help you relax, release tension and stretch the muscles in an area where most people keep their stress.
It depends on which type of yoga you like and need. For chronic pain, it is best to start slowly with Nidra or Yin Yoga. For those who can handle a bigger challenge, Hatha and Bikram could be for you.
Yes. Many yoga poses stretch different muscle and ligament groups at the same time, with some using heads and shoulders as support (for example – Shirshasana, a headstand) Headstands and any other yoga poses that use the neck and shoulders should be verified with a professional.
Stretching, meditation and posture awareness. You can practice all these elements by doing yoga every day for at least twenty minutes. As you get used to yoga and the habit of practicing it every day, you will find an hour and thirty mins easier to do.