Updated: Jun 11, 2019

Neck tension, shoulder tension, chest tightness, heavy head, sore neck, lack of mobility, pinching, pain, frustration…and more. Can we release the neck and the upper back tension on our own? How? Can self care help during painful or chronic episodes? What steps can we take to stay out of tension before, after or without visiting a manual therapist?In this blog I will share five simplistic, inter-relatable, preventative and rehabilitative self care tips. Self care is the most important preventative measure in dealing with neck tension.

Most of my clients arrive to the clinic with flight related neck tension. Therefore, neck or upper back pain treatments have become the most often sought after therapeutic treatments at Sanaprana Tulum (integrative wellness clinic). Besides treating my clients through manual therapeutics, I enjoy educating them towards taking preventative and rehabilitative measures. Pain, greatly due to our inability to pay attention to its subtle signs, will cause us to feel confusion, fear and stress.

Pain is a communicator. Sometimes quiet and sometimes loud. Either way pain ask us to pay attention to something within our bodies. Pain sensations can be accompanied by different feelings and thoughts. Between feelings, sensations and thoughts it can get really confusing to get to the root of the problem. The root sometimes isn’t easily discovered, but the action of releasing the tension or pain, may uncover the root of it.

If pain is a communicator, than two or more parts have to be in a relationship for the communication to take place. So, consider looking at your body as a complex living structure of ever changing relationships. Than, imagine your best friendships. Than imagine the not so good ones. Generally the good friendships are nurtured by great or reoccurring communication whereas the not so good friendships are maintained by limited communication. Now, consider your body. Ever noticed how some parts of your body are way harder to activate or feel while others respond right away?

To make a friendship steady, you have to feed it with energy. If you sever a relationship, you cut off the communication with the person. The body works the same way. If you want to have a good friendship with your neck, you have to create an effective dialogue with it. One of the quickest ways to establish communication between the body and the mind is through breath.


Most people’s necks are stiff and their breaths shallow from the static muscle holds or repetitive activities. The first and the easiest step to combat an epidemic of neck problems is through deep breathing. When you breathe fully, inclusively into your neck and throat area, you help reactivate the weak neck and upper back muscles and release the strained ones. You don’t have to breathe deeply all day long. Though, you can implement big full breaths to create movement where there is lack of mobility and help release some tension through a forced sigh or loud e