To relieve the tightness in your head, neck, or shoulders

by - March 18, 2014

To relieve the tightness in your head, neck, or shoulders, try one or more of these quick techniques:

Relax your muscles. Several times a day or when you become aware of shoulder tension, gently stretch your neck muscles. Drop your shoulders down, let your arms fall loose by your side, slowly rotate your head from side to side, and gently bend your neck so that your head falls forward. Repeat until some of
the tension is released. Use the Stretch Break software on your computer to remind you to stretch and to lead you through several stretches.

Focus on breathing. Take a few moments to focus on inhaling and exhaling slowly; inhale through your nose deeply -- filling the air in your lungs all the way through to your abdomen -- counting slowly to ten, then exhaling in the same manner. Repeat several times.

Use cold and hot together. To soothe and comfort the muscles in the back of the neck and shoulder, try a cold compress followed by a warm compress.

Exercise. One of the most powerful and effective methods for relieving muscle tension is exercise. A brisk walk around the block is a fast and simple way to release some pent-up tension.

Use massage. Knead the muscles along your shoulders, neck, and back of the skull. Gently rub your head, forehead, temples, facial muscles, and jaw to relieve tension. Recreational Sports offers massage services. Schedule an appointment online or in person at RSF.

Watch your caffeine intake. Sometimes a headache is a symptom of “caffeine withdrawal,” the result of regularly consuming too much caffeine, then suddenly decreasing the amount of caffeine consumed. To avoid this type of headache, watch your caffeine intake so that it does not exceed 200 mg a day (about
one to two cups of brewed coffee). If you are trying to cut back on caffeine, decrease the amount you consume gradually over a period of a few days to a week.

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