Neck pain is, well, nothing less than a right old pain in the neck. Whether you’ve slept the wrong way, have tension, or it’s simply a result of sitting at a computer too long, cervical pain is something that lots of us suffer from. But, the good news is using yoga for chronic neck pain is one way you can help bring your neck back into alignment and relieve your symptoms.
What causes neck pain
There are various reasons neck pain occurs. These are some of the most common:
- sprains or injuries
- incorrect sitting position
- disc prolapses
- cervical dysfunction
Some are a result of lifestyle, especially considering the increasing hours we spend online, whether sitting in the office or staring at our phones, this looking-down position extends the neck, and can be particularly problematic.
Others are caused by illnesses that we just can’t help. Whatever the reason, if you’re here, what you really want to know is how to ease the symptoms and feel better, right?
When to see a doctor
We never intend to replace medical advice, so if you have suffered a neck injury, your neck pain is severe, continues for a long period of time, or is accompanied by a fever, these are red flag symptoms. Please consult your doctor immediately and don’t try any of the exercises below before you do.
Yoga poses to help neck pain – how do they work?
When we have neck pain, very often other parts of our body are also affected. You may notice you are experiencing more headaches, have a pain in your jaw, feel discomfort in your upper back and even in your arms.
All of this can stem directly from the neck.
By using yoga poses to relieve neck pain, you can help your body in three ways:
- Yoga exercises for cervical pain help stretch the muscles and build flexibility that allows more freedom of movement. These techniques relax tense muscles and lessen that neck pain.
- With that unnecessary tension gone, and through practice, you’ll begin to hold yourself differently and improve your overall posture and alignment.
- Healthy body, healthy mind. Yoga, like any exercise, is a stress reliever, meaning you’ll have less tension overall.
Best yoga poses to relieve neck pain
These cervical spine pain exercises can help you release built-up tension, improve your posture and relax your body. We’ve tried and tested each of them, just to be sure. But remember, everyone is different, if any these poses cause you discomfort, best to stop and try another one.
General instructions: For each of these yoga poses for cervical neck pain, once you have achieved the perfect position, hold that pose and tension for five deep breaths, before releasing and repeating.
Cow face arm pose
Not the prettiest of names, but an effective pose for releasing neck tension. Get into a kneeling position on your mat. Next bend your arm above your head and down your back. Bring your other arm to your back at waist-level and move it up to meet your upper hand.
Arms across chest pose
Sit in a comfortable position on your mat, either cross-legged, in a kneeling position or with your legs out in front of you.
Make sure your back is straight before taking one arm and placing it directly across your body. Take your second arm and slide it up the first and pull into a stretch.
Neck rolls from ear to shoulder
Sit yourself comfortably on your mat, perhaps in a cross leg pose while making sure your back is straight.
Bring your chin towards your chest, then roll your right ear to your right shoulder. Place your left hand on your left shoulder, and your right hand just above your left ear.
Use your fingertips to feel your pressure points and pull yourself into the stretch.
Cat and cow moving pose
First get in the cow pose (kneel with your hands on the ground) on the mat, ensure your hands are directly under your shoulders, and your knees are parallel to your bum.
Drop your belly towards the mat, creating a curve in your back, while raising your head upwards to look at the ceiling.
Next moving into cat pose, drop your head to gaze toward your knees and raise your back so it is curved. This position should look like an angry cat.
Hold the position for five breaths, then repeat the movements.
Back clasp pose
Take your place on your mat and make a solid stance with your legs spread a should’s width apart.
Open your arms out and your sides, hold for a second and take a breath inwards. As you do, bring your hands together to meet in prayer pose behind your back.
Enjoy the feeling of the stretch across your chest and back, feel your neck straighten. As you do, breath out and release your arms. Repeat until the tension in your neck is gone.
Spinal twist seated pose
Take your spot on your mat and sit in a cross-legged position. Next, raise one leg up and place it over the other so one leg remains flat and the other forms a triangle over it.
Then lightly hug your raised leg with one arm while twisting your upper body to face away. You should feel the stretch in your neck and upper back.