A lot of people hold tension in their shoulders, which over time can carry stress and aggravation into the trapezius, rhomboids, pecs and the sternocleidomastoid muscle. This can cause intense pain, headaches, tension headaches and stiffness and tension. Over time, if these muscles keep in the contraction phase, this can cause major pain, lead to irrititability and depression.
There are a few techniques that you can try on a daily basis to work this tension out. One of my favourites is using a tennis ball. I stand against a wall with a tennis ball in the area of tension and I move my body up and down, side to side and dig in where I feel the pain. I hold that position until I have had enough, and then slowly roll the ball to another area. The slower you move, the better.
You have to keep this up for at least three minutes because you are releasing the tightness in the fascia and not in the muscle. This is a very important difference. Thirty percent of fascia lies over muscle. A tight muscle only needs 45 seconds to release, while fascia needs at least 90 seconds to 3 minutes. If you release the muscle tension, but the tightness is in your fascia, you will still experience the pain.
Roll the ball slowly side to side, inch by inch. Hold it in places of particular tightness and sensation and dig in as much as the pain will allow. Remember, we are releasing the pain, so never move more that 2 points above your pain scale.
The pain scale runs form 0 to 10. If you are at a pain level of 2, slightly uncomfortable, but can live with it, you do not want to go past 4, uncomfortable and edgy. To do so will just decrease your pain tolerance rather than increase it resulting in unraveling all the good work you have done. And you never do anything if you are at an 8 to start. Then, you visualize what you are doing. Close your eyes, visualize the ball rolling between the wall and your shoulder. Slowly go through your mind inch by inch across your back.
Studies have shown that visualization does as much to repair pain issues as actually doing the exercises. * The Effects of Brief Mindfulness Meditation Training on Experimentally Induced PainFadel Zeidan, Nakia S. Gordon, Junaid Merchant, and Paula Goolkasian Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
Another thing to try is crook your arms with your place your palms facing your shoulder. Place your fingertips on top of your shoulders at the same time. Then, move your elbows up. Hold this for five breaths, and then roll your elbows to the side, while trying to get your shoulder blades to touch. Hold this for five slow breaths. This opens your rhomboids and squishes your trapezius together. Repeat this action at least ten times.