Neck and shoulder pain are common complaints, especially among people who work at a computer all day or people who live a sedentary or inactive lifestyle. While there are many potential causes of this type of pain, one often-overlooked factor is the amount of movement and stimulation our hands receive throughout the day.
Jill Miller is a yoga and fitness therapy specialist with over 30 years of expertise in the field. She has pioneered relevant links between fitness, yoga, massage, athletics, and pain management because of her expertise in anatomy and movement. As a creator of Yoga Tune Up and as an author of The Roll Model, she explains that certain everyday activities such as typing, writing, holding a kid, or even talking on the phone, put a strain on the hand and cause tension to build up to the neck and shoulders.
Also, when you sit at a desk or table and rest your arm on the surface, the weight of your arm puts pressure on the nerves that run from your shoulder to your hand. This pressure can cause the muscles in your neck and shoulder to tighten, leading to pain.
According to Miller and some other experts, one way to relieve neck and shoulder pain is to stimulate your hand. This can be done by using a tennis ball. Tennis balls are firm, yet flexible, and they provide a massaging action when rolled over the skin. By stimulating the hand with a tennis ball, you can help to reduce pain and tension in the neck and shoulders.
Put the tennis ball to a hard surface and massage the area where the thumb joins the rest of your hand against it. To pry the junction open and apart, roll the hand over the ball numerous times. It’s ok if you have an uncomfortable sensation. After massaging for a while you’ll start to feel how stress is leaving your hand.
Another method is to pretend to juice oranges with your hand. For a minute or two, do this.
Then, holding your arms out over your head, raise yourself. Examine the hand that you just stretched to see whether it stretches further back than the other one. Perhaps you’ll be surprised to learn that it is. This is a visible indication of improved flexibility.
Miller’s technique is an example of acupressure. There is also another pressure point in the hand, dubbed the “Hidden Valley,” that may help to relieve neck discomfort when pressed. This place is that soft skin in-between the thumb and index finger.
Simply close your hands and press the knuckles of the left hand into the center palm of the right. Using your left thumb, massage the soft aspect of the skin between the thumb and forefinger for 2-3 minutes. Repeat on the other hand.
Try these techniques for a few days and feel how your situation gets better.