It feels like a collar of nails: every time you move your head you experience an unpleasant stabbing pain in your neck or shoulders. In some cases it’s so intense you can’t move the part of your body affected. This type of tension can be caused by a number of things. It may be the result of sitting the same way for a long time (at the computer or reading) or the wrong sleeping position. Bad posture, stress and too much exercise can also lead to a hardening of the muscles.
There are various techniques for relaxing tense muscles. Sports ointments and heating pads can help boost circulation. A hot bath can also be relaxing and improve the flow of blood throughout your body. Massage may also be a good way of easing tension. If you don’t have time to go to a masseur, you can try massaging yourself.
To relieve tension in the back of your neck you need a rubber ball or tennis ball, a piece of string, and a high-backed chair or similar. Put the ball between the back of the chair and your neck and shoulders and then try moving gently, without pressing too hard, to massage the tense muscle. Use the string to get the ball back in the right position.
You can ease a tense back using a massage or yoga roll. Put the roll on the floor, for example on a carpet or rug. Lie with your back on the roll and make small, slow movements to massage the stiff muscles.
To stop the muscle tensing up again you should also address the cause. Recurring muscle tension often leads you to adopt a protective posture, which can result in further tension. If you can’t work out what’s causing the tension, or if the pain persist for a longer time (several weeks), you should consult a doctor.