Pain in the neck (and shoulders!)

Our necks and shoulders are said to be linked to our emotions. When we are stressed or anxious, how many of us feel aches and pains in these areas of our body? Our muscles and nerves become affected. It can us feel worse, depressed and not sure of how to get rid of it.

If we don’t address our stress and tension, it can lead to chronic neck & shoulder pain.

Pain relief is often administered in the form of medicine such as Ibuprofen (anti inflammatory) and paracetamol. While these may help in the short term, it really is worth taking a look at why this pain arrived in the first place. A more holistic approach may heal you and prevent any future flare ups.

The Body Control method, is a form of Pilates that breaks down the classical repertoire into manageable blocks, increasing in difficulty as the body adapts in strength and mobility. Neck and shoulder pain are common, and I include exercises that are designed to mobilise these areas. Tightness in the upper back and ribcage inhibits movement of the shoulder girdle and the ribcage. When these areas are all restricted, we cannot breathe as efficiently. Our lungs and diaphragm don’t have the room to move which then affects the organs. Everything in the body is linked so it really is a good idea to learn how to stay mobile.

Movement is so good for our mind and bodies, and Pilates links it all together perfectly. During the exercises, we are concentrating on the breath and the body so the focus is taken away from stressful thoughts. It is during this time that the body can relax, and start to release tension. The neck and shoulders are mobilised as part of a whole body movement pattern, we don’t just work on one area, everything is part of a chain so all parts of the body are included in the session.

Other ways to address neck & shoulder pain include:

Explore your stress

Meditation, journalling, counselling or having a friend or member of the family to talk through any problems you have can help. Bottling problems up doesn't solve them or make them go away. Writing or talking about them can bring new ideas on how to deal with them which can make it all feel more manageable.

To-do lists

Lists give focus and the tasks can feel less daunting when you can see that not everything needs to be done that day. Prioritising the most important things, and poking holes in that overflowing bucket (metaphorically speaking) is a good way to reduce the burden.


The difference between a good or a bad night’s sleep can really affect our mood. Sleep deprivation has been linked to serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Slightly worrying for those of us who have babies who prefer to party through the night! A good sleep routine will really help to make you feel more relaxed.


For chronic neck pain it may be worthwhile to explore an anti-inflammatory diet. This includes eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, choosing healthier fats and limiting or cutting out meat & diary products. Avoiding heavily processed foods such as bacon, sausage and pre packed meals.

Get outside!

Walking in the countryside, by the beach or in your home town costs nothing and is such healthy movement. The fresh air and new scenery will instantly give you a boost and some clarity.

I am co hosting a Pilates & Wellness Weekend at The Alnwick Garden on Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March 2020 945am - 1pm both days. Healthy Feet, Neck & Shoulders are the weekends topics. You are welcome to book on to one or both of the workshops.

£55 for one and a discounted rate of £99 for both. There will be a nourishing lunch provided in the beautiful grounds of The Alnwick Garden at the end of both workshops, along with free access afterwards.

Please get in touch if you would like to book this event. or

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