Have you been experiencing soreness in your neck? Neck pain happens to almost everyone at some point. Using yoga for neck pain will help to relieve your neck pain and can reduce stress and anxiety, which could be the culprits behind your neck pain.

In this article, we will go over the causes of neck pain, how to use yoga for neck pain, and when to call a doctor. You can use these poses one after the other or stick to a few you find beneficial. Implementing yoga for neck pain regularly will help keep the soreness at bay and can help prevent it from occurring in the future.

Causes of Neck Pain

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As one of the most used muscles in the body, neck pain is fairly common. It can occur for many reasons including lifestyle habits, diseases, or accidents. Using yoga for neck pain can be effective no matter the catalyst for your soreness. Below are a few of the common causes of neck pain.

  • Carrying your backpack or purse on one shoulder
  • Cradling your phone between your shoulder and neck
  • Emotional stress or tension
  • Tension headaches
  • Poor posture
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Herniated disk
  • Meningitis
  • Muscle strain
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sleeping on your abdomen or with too many or too few pillows
  • Spinal stenosis
  • TMJ disorders
  • Trauma or whiplash

Yoga for Neck Pain

Now you have a good idea what is causing the pain in your neck, we will dive into 10 ways you can use yoga for neck pain.

1. Cat-Cow Pose

The Cat-Cow Pose is great for stretching out your entire spine. It is a simple flow to stretch and lengthen your torso and back as well as create space throughout your entire neck.

To do this pose, start in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the floor and your back flat. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Starting with the Cat Pose, look straight in front of you, inhale deeply, and lift your gaze up and forward while gently arching your back. Flow into Cow Pose during your exhale by tucking your chin to your chest and begin to softly round your back in a hunched over position.

Use your breath to flow through this movement 7-10 times.

2. Child's Pose

Child's Pose is a relaxing pose you can use any time you feel anxious, stressed, or tense in your neck. This restorative pose will help you feel more relaxed and ease mental tension.

To begin Child's Pose, start in a tabletop position the same way you would start Cat-Cow. Take a deep inhale as you remain in a tabletop position and then sink your hips back as you exhale. As your hips sink to your heels, reach your arms long out in front of you. Bring your forehead to the mat and actively continue to stretch your arms out and your hips back.

Lay in Child's Pose as long as you need to for relaxation, about 30 seconds to a few minutes.

3. Thread the Needle Pose

Thread the Needle Pose will help you relieve tension in your shoulders, neck, and back.

Begin in tabletop as you did in the first two positions. With your right palm facing up and laying on the floor, gently slide your right arm behind your left arm. As your arm slides through, gently rest your body on your right shoulder while looking toward the left. Remain in this position for around 30 seconds.

Return to Child's Pose for a few seconds, and repeat on the other side of your body.

4. Seated Twist Pose

The Seated Twist will strengthen flexibility throughout your spine and neck.

Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs extending flat out in front of you while your hands rest at your sides. Keeping the left leg straight, bend your right knee towards you. Sit straight up and take in a deep breath while extending your left arm out to the left. Exhale and gently wrap your left arm around your knee. Gently place your right palm on the floor behind you near your tailbone.

Your fingers should be pointed away from you, and your chin should face your right shoulder. Allow your right elbow to bend slightly allowing your shoulder to gently sink down. Be sure you are not cranking your spine, and only twisting comfortably.

Breathe deeply into this pose for around 5 breaths. Return to your seated position and repeat on the other side.

5. Ear to Shoulder Pose

Ear to Shoulder can be done anywhere and while sitting or standing. It can be a great stretch to do at your desk or throughout the day to keep flexibility in your neck and relieve tension down through the trapezius muscles.

Begin in a seated position, with your legs crossed and arms at your side. Take a deep breath in and gently bring your right ear down to your right shoulder as you exhale. Keep your head level with your shoulder and keep it from leaning forward or backward. Inhale to bring your head to center and then repeat on the other side as you exhale.

Repeat 7-10 times.

6. Cow Face Pose

Cow Face Pose is helpful for opening your chest and shoulders.

Start Cow Face Pose in a seated position. Bend your left arm and point your elbow toward the ceiling while your left palm touches your left shoulder blade. Use your right hand to gently touch your left elbow behind your head and softly pull your elbow to the right.

Hold this pose for 30 seconds, return to the seated position, and repeat on the other side.

7. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose helps to stretch the entire spine, shoulders, and hips.

Begin in a seated position and move your right foot to the outside of your left hip. With a bent knee, cross your left leg over your right. Your left foot should be rooted into the floor just outside your right thigh. Gently twist your body to the left as you lengthen your spine. Place your left hand on the floor close to your buttocks, and your right arm to the outside of your left leg. Look over either shoulder or gently move your neck back and forth.

Hold this pose for one minute, return to the seated position, and repeat on the other side.

8. Legs Against the Wall Pose

Legs Against the Wall Pose is beneficial for your body in so many ways beyond relieving neck pain. It can calm the nervous system, aid in circulation, calm the mind, and lift pressure off your spine.

Move to a nearby wall and begin with your knees close to your chest. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, roll onto your back as your legs stretch up against the wall. The distance between you and the wall depends on your size and comfort. Take a little time to experiment so you can find a comfortable position for your body. Extend your arms out to the side with palms facing upwards, keep your head and neck drawn out away from your shoulders.

Breathe gently in this position for 5-10 minutes.

9. Extended Triangle Pose

The Extended Triangle Pose relieves tension and soreness in your neck, shoulders, and back.

Begin with your feet flat on the floor, slightly wider than your hips. Your right foot should face forward with your left foot facing out at an angle. Lift your arms with your palms down so they are parallel to the floor. Hinging at your right hip, reach your right arm forward and then lower your fingertips or palm to the mat. Then, lift your left arm toward the ceiling with fingers pointing straight up. Move your gaze to the ceiling.

Hold this position for about 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.

10. Corpse Pose

Corpse Pose is a great relaxation pose to end your yoga routine with. It is one of the most powerfully restorative poses and helps to relieve anxiety and bring peace to your mind.

To begin, lie down on your back with your legs extended flat in front of you. If it is more comfortable for you, you could also bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor and knees gently touching. With palms facing up, reach your arms out to your sides. Experiment with your position until you feel the most comfortable. Close your eyes, and focus on breathing comfortably and effortlessly. Relax your facial muscles and let go of the tension in your neck.

Enjoy the stillness from the corpse pose for 5-10 minutes.

When to See a Professional

If using yoga for neck pain does not seem to solve the issue, you may need to seek care from a doctor or professional.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • The pain worsens despite using poses or self-care
  • Pain is persistent for several weeks, even after use of self-care
  • Pain radiates down to your arms or legs
  • Your neck pain is accompanied by a headache, numbness, or tingling

Conclusion

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Using yoga for neck pain can be extremely beneficial, especially if the pain is coming from lifestyle habits or stress. There are many reasons you could experience neck pain, and it is important to see a doctor if you experience soreness even after using the techniques listed above. If you have any doubt at all, schedule a visit with your doctor.

​Featured image via Pexels

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