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Six Natural Ways to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Tension

Whether you are a student hunched over your textbooks, or are experiencing whiplash after a recent car accident, neck and shoulder tension is an unfortunate, but very common malady. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies you can use that can help to manage symptoms and get you on the road to recovery. Below are six natural ways to relieve neck and shoulder tension without having to resort to taking pills or pain medication.

Neck and Shoulder Pain - Six Natural Ways to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Tension


Sometimes the root cause of muscle tension in the neck and shoulders is stress. Make sure to give yourself breaks to stand up and walk around, especially if you are slouching over a desk all day. Use proper posture when seated and practice deep breathing to relieve the tension in your muscles. Some simple exercises and stretches can help to work loose muscles as you take these breaks.  

Alternate Heat with Ice

This treatment is a classic because it really works. Heat relaxes tension in the muscles while ice constricts the blood vessels and reduces inflammation and swelling. Start with 20 minutes of heat and end with 20 minutes of ice.


When you are in pain, it’s tempting to avoid moving the injured parts of your body. However, this can reduce your range of motion, causing more pain in the long run. Try gentle stretches and shoulder rotations every day, going as far as your injuries will allow without pain.

Take a Swim

You can build up the strength in your shoulder and neck muscles without causing strain by swimming. You don’t need to be practicing Olympic-level breast strokes here—simply getting into the water up to your neck and walking around can do the trick. Water is great for getting stiff muscles moving and loose again.

Sleep in the Right Position

To avoid exacerbating the problem, you should also take care when you sleep. Sleeping in the wrong position can put your spine out of alignment and lengthen your recovery time. The ideal sleeping position is on your side. A pillow between the knees can also help maintain the spine in proper alignment.

Eat Right

The right diet can act as a natural painkiller in some instances. To support your muscle health and prevent spasms, eat foods with plenty of magnesium—many fruits and vegetables contain this mineral. You should also eat anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger root and turmeric.

As you can see, you don’t need pain pills to manage tension in the shoulders and neck. No matter the cause of your injury, if you implement these natural remedies into your daily routine you should start to see a reduction in pain.

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy. If you have neck pain after an accident, Khan Law Firm recommends you find a doctor to get a proper diagnosis before treatment.

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