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Neck and shoulder tension and stiffness are one of the most common complaints presenting to Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic. In particular among those who are primarily computer based at work. An increased awareness of ergonomics and improving work station set up has helped to a certain degree. However, completely resolving and getting on top of neck/shoulder tension is down to the individual.
Overuse of neck and shoulder muscles most commonly occurs as workers type and mouse. Many also tend to hold emotional tension and stress in the muscles around their neck and shoulders. Pilates has proven very effective in relieving and managing neck and shoulder tension.
Joesph Pilates developed pilates, a type of exercise. He formulated a set of exercises in the hope that if practiced regularly and correctly, these exercises would balance the body and mind. Neck and shoulder pain and tension tends to occur through overuse of the larger muscles around this area, and weakness of the smaller, deeper muscles, which form your core. Poor core strength, means less support and stability for the neck and shoulder joints. In turn overuse and increased tightness of other muscle groups to provide this support. Weak core abdominals, scapular muscles and deep neck flexors means there is a lack of stability in the trunk, and increased pressure and work for the neck and shoulder muscles trying to provide support.
All Pilates exercises are performed in a neutral spinal position. The main focus is on control and quality of movement while performing these exercises. There is also an emphasis on relaxation and lateral thoracic breathing as you exercise, which aids in relaxing tight, tense muscles and facilitates activation of our core muscles. The stronger your deeper abdominal and back muscles are, the more your shoulder and neck muscles can relax. Pilates increases joint support through increased core strength. This also helps improve normal movement patterns and correct poor muscle recruitment. Loss of correct muscle recruitment patterns is cause by pain and tension.
There are a range of Pilates classes here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, run by our chartered physiotherapists. If you have been experiencing neck and shoulder tension and are interested in trying out Pilates, contact us here for a free Pilates assessment.