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Stress Relief Kit: Neck and Shoulder Tension

According to our How Does Your Body Express Your Stress poll, there are a lot of headache and neck pain sufferers in the audience. When my stress level rockets, I'll get intense neck and shoulder stiffness. A few years ago, during a very chaotic period, I began to clench my jaw, too. Of course, these habits lead to tension headaches. Through some trial and error, I've found a few things that honestly help.

To see what's in the Stress Relief Kit,

Sombra Fast Acting Topical Pain Relieving Roll-On Gel is the first thing I reach for when my neck and shoulders get stiff and sore from tension. An injury is different, of course. That's when you call your doctor or chiropractor. But if you're simply carrying your stress here, you might add this product to your Stress Kit.

Your best bet is to order online. Sombra contains six natural plant extracts, in combination with menthol, capsaicin and witch hazel. I like the roll-on because you don't want this on your hands if you then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Ouch. I roll it across my shoulders and up my neck, even along the base of my skull. It relieves the tight sore joints, muscle soreness and inflammation pretty quickly; some nights I'll use it before bed, too. Patch test first! It does have a hot-cold stinging sensation, and you should use it sparingly or you'll get an uncomfortable burning feeling! It's powerful stuff.

Below you'll find some good stretches and yoga techniques that should help release the tension. Sometimes I fail to notice how much stress I've accumulated in my neck and shoulders. It's all go-go-go, and I lose touch with what my body is experiencing. If I do the rolls and stretches every day, I'm much more aware of the tenderness and strain, which helps me notice my stress level and take care of myself better. It's wise to make an effort every day, particularly during a stressful period, as you will learn how to recognize tension in your back and neck muscles more quickly. This means you can release it before the muscles become tight and sore.

Here's a nice set of shoulder stretches to help with stiffness in the neck area.

Some yoga help with tension headaches here.

While there are no images at this site, the routine is very simple, very effective and easy to remember.

If you have any tips that work, please pass them along. I'll definitely try them & add them to my own Stress Kit.


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Epsom salts in a hot bath work wonders. They help rid stiff muscles of lactic acid buildup so they are great for a injury, chronic pain (my issue), post work-out pain and general stiff muscles. I get a professional massage every few weeks and my m.therapist recommends a salt soak after each massage. You can buy the salt in bulk at places like "bulk barn" and they also sell it at most drug stores and even walmart. It's really inexpensive too, you can spend $4 and have enough for several baths.
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