Lately in clinic we have seen an increase in muscular problems around the neck and shoulders. This seems to be related to the recent change in weather. When we are cold we have the tendency to lift our shoulders towards our ears to try and keep ourselves warm. This can then over-activate the muscles in the neck, shoulders & back. The solution?
- Ensure that you wear warm clothing. I know that this is difficult at this time of year with the dilemma of not knowing what to wear as the weather is quite autumnally interchangeable. The key to autumnal fashion is layers, then you can take off a layer if you are too hot, and add extra layers if you aren’t warm enough
- Try and focus on keeping a good posture by holding your shoulders in a relaxed position rather than a tense one
- Warm your muscles in the evening to keep them supple. Use a heat pad, a wheat bag or a hot water bottle on your upper back/lower neck for 20 minutes
- Regular stretching of the neck and shoulder muscles throughout the day
As a chiropractor it is difficult to give the prescription of icing at this time of year, as we want to warm ourselves in autumn and winter not make ourselves colder. However, if you have a complaint that is inflammatory in nature, ice is the better option. If you are unsure if you should use ice or heat then contact your chiropractor for advice.