Aromatherapy For Neck And Shoulder Pain
It was recently estimated that in the United Kingdom more working days are lost each year through back problems than through any other physical ailment.
Around 90% of the population experience back, neck, or shoulder pain at some point in their lives, and a huge proportion of working adults suffer some form of neck and shoulder pain every year.
Aches and pains in these areas can be experienced in muscles, nerves, bones, joints, tendons and ligaments, and can even be caused by problems originating in another area. For example, the muscles of the front and side of the neck can generate pain between the shoulder blades which is usually felt as a continual, dull, ache. Other examples of referred pain can be headaches, jaw pain, sinus pain or even earache, and these can all be caused by problems with your back.
Although some things are outside our control such as genetics and accidents, a large proportion of neck and shoulder pain is related to our lifestyle and the way that we interact with the world. Due to the bad habits that we have gradually developed over time, we have adopted a poor posture with a tendency to slump when we sit which then creates tension in the neck, shoulders and back.
The invention of the motor car means that people now drive everywhere instead of walking, and our occupational habits have also changed with many of us spending our working day sitting at desks, slouched over computers that puts a great strain on our backs, shoulders, and necks. This is a far cry from our ancestors who would spend most of their working day walking, running and standing up.
Those of us who spend most of our working day sat at computers are particularly vulnerable to neck and shoulder problems. If a monitor is positioned too high or low the user is forced to tilt the head back or forwards which causes the neck and shoulder muscles to become fatigued. Within a relatively short space of time this can cause serious pain in the neck and shoulders, and even headaches.
Use it or lose it
People who walk a lot or spend time in the gym develop good muscle tone in their backs, but those who sit for most of the day lose tone in the large group of muscles in their backs, shoulders, and necks. When we slouch, the vertebrae of the spine are subjected to larger forces of pressure and over a period of time this can often lead to trouble.
Repetitive activities and overstraining can also lead to problems in your neck, shoulder or rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that attach four shoulder muscles to the upper arm, and when injured it restricts the movement of the arms and is very, very painful.
Life moves fast in today’s world and we carry stress in our upper backs, shoulders and neck. Our shoulders are held stiffly as we drive or sit, and our frustrations and emotions can then have an impact in this area.
Ultimately it can affect our ability to get a good night’s sleep, and without sleep you can’t escape the pain and will become tired and irritable. And so the dreadful cycle continues . . .
Essential oils for neck and shoulder pain
Massage is a time-honored treatment for relieving tight and tense muscles, and together with the correct essential oils it can bring instant relief to the tension knots and muscle spasms associated with neck and shoulder pain.
Although you can effectively massage your own neck, it may be better to get someone else to massage the difficult to reach upper back and shoulder area.
Black seed oil carrier oil can help to ease aches and pains, and becomes especially effective when you add some anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic essential oils. Effective oils include black pepper, roman chamomile, ginger, helichrysum, sweet marjoram, lavender or rosemary, which when added to a carrier oil to bring blissful relief to those tight, stiff and aching areas. When used this way in massage, the blended oils penetrate into muscular tissue increasing blood flow to the area, which encourages the contracted muscles to expand and relax.
A soothing warm bath with essential oils is also just the thing to help relax tight, tense muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Roman chamomile, black pepper, clary sage, lavender, rose, sandalwood, sweet marjoram, sweet thyme, rosemary, and vetiver are all essential oils that can be used to ease this type of muscular pain. Simply add 6 to 8 drops (total) of your chosen essential oils to the bath and disperse them evenly.
Aromatherapy massage and baths really can help relieve or prevent neck and shoulder pain. But if your pain persists beyond a few weeks you must go and see your doctor in case there is a serious underlying problem.
Copyright © Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd 2015. Written by Sue Charles