Yoga for Shoulder and Neck Pain

Smartphones offer numerous conveniences and help us stay connected, but overuse and improper use can lead to text neck and other body aches. Sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen all day can also cause problems. Certain yoga poses, however, can help alleviate and prevent minor neck and shoulder pain. The stretches below provide a good starting point.

Head Tilts — When you hold your head in one position for too long, muscle tightness and stiffness can occur and lead to pain. Stretching your neck can help. Whether you’re sitting or standing, drop your head to one side (ear to shoulder) and take three to five deep breaths. Then repeat on the other side.

Eagle Arms — This move, which is half of eagle pose, stretches your neck, upper back, shoulder and arm muscles. Put one arm over the other in front of you and bend your elbows. Wrap your arms around each other so that your palms touch if possible. Switch arms and repeat.

Shoulder Stretch — Open up your shoulders and upper back and fight against slouching with the shoulder stretch. From a standing position with feet about hip-width apart, interlace your fingers behind your back, straighten your arms and bow forward. Breathe deeply for three to five breaths.

Wall Reach — Stand with your right side against a wall. Reach your right arm up with your palm on the wall and your fingers spread. Move your arm back as if it’s the hand of a clock. Go to 1 o’clock, hold for a breath and then reach farther to 2 o’clock. Switch to your left side and reach your left arm up to 11 o’clock. Then move back slowly to 10 o’clock.

Be sure to consult your doctor if pain is severe or persistent and before starting a new fitness routine.