If you’re experiencing neck pain and wondering “Should I do yoga if my neck hurts?”, you’re reading the right article. Yoga has many incredible benefits for your body and mind, although there are some poses that can be risky towards the neck. That being said, is yoga the answer? Should I do yoga if my neck hurts?
Yes, yoga is an amazing way to relieve neck pain and prevent it from happening again. Using yoga, you will learn how to release tension in the neck. One pose I recommend avoiding is the headstand, this pose is dangerous to the neck, and can be much more dangerous to anyone with a previous neck injury.
Although yoga has some amazing benefits that can help relieve neck pain and prevent it from happening in the future, but it also has some dangers, and poses you should avoid. Lets go over both the benefits and dangers of yoga so you can be well equipped with the knowledge to relieve your neck pain and gain all the amazing benefits yoga has to offer. We will first start with the benefits of yoga.
Benefits Of Yoga For The Neck
There are a number of incredible benefits yoga can provide which can help benefit your whole body and mind, although to keep this focused, we will only discuss the benefits that will be targeted for neck pain. These benefits all show what yoga can do to relieve your neck pain and prevent it from happening again in the future. For anyone wondering “should I do yoga if my neck hurts?” I would say, check out the benefits below and you’ll see why I believe you should.
1. Improved Flexibility And Balance
The goal of many people who practice yoga is to increase their flexibility and balance. According to a 2014 study yoga where a group of 66 elderly participants were put into separate groups, one for yoga and another for calisthenics, it was found after one year of yoga, the total flexibility of the yoga group increased about four times that of the calisthenics group. So if you were wondering “should I do yoga if my neck hurts?” you should check that study and you’ll have a good answer, I would say yes.
Yoga has many incredible poses that will improve neck flexibility, such as cat cow pose, ear to shoulder, neck rolls, standing forward bend, and much more. There are also some amazing yoga poses that will directly target the neck to help quickly relieve tension and pain from the neck. Check out this article to learn more.
2. Can Increase Strength
While practicing yoga, you will be in certain poses for extended periods of time, this will work your muscles and force them to work so you will be able to hold your pose. Building muscles in certain areas will be extremely beneficial for anyone suffering from neck pain, as it can help build muscles around the neck and other areas that support the neck. These muscles will support the neck and the neck will not have to work as hard since it has support from other parts of the body.
One important area that will improve greatly in strength is the core. The core supports the body during many movements and throughout daily activities. Having a strong core is extremely important as it will be a main supporter in the posture of your body and in many physical activities. If someone is wondering “should I do yoga if my neck hurts?” I would say yes, because it will also improve your strength and help prevent further injuries and pain.
These strength benefits will also help to prevent neck pain or injury in the future because now your neck will not only have more support but more protection. The muscles supporting the neck will be able to help protect it from getting injured as easily. This is also why physical therapy includes some strength and muscle building movements, so you can rebuild any muscles or make them stronger to help support the body and prevent further injuries from occurring in the future.
3. Improved Posture
When it comes to joint and spine health, posture is one of the most important things that everyone should try to improve and focus on. This is because its a simple fix that can benefit you greatly and you’ll thank yourself in the future for focusing on good posture.
Yoga promotes good posture in many ways, one way we previously touched upon is the core. The core will be greatly strengthened as you practice yoga, because many poses will force the core to work so you can hold the positions. The core supports the body in holding these positions and supports you in daily movements. As your core strength improves, you’ll notice your posture will naturally get better. This is why I always recommend to anyone asking “should I do yoga if my neck hurts?” I always say yes, because of this main benefit of posture.
I highly suggest focusing on your posture, not just in yoga but during your normal daily activities. Try to keep good posture at all times, stand or sit upright, don’t slouch, don’t round the shoulders, and keep your head in a neutral straight position. Forward head tilt is a very common cause of neck pain, this usually happens to anyone working a job that has them using a computer most of the day or if they’re using their phone and they have bad posture while using it for long periods of time.
4. Reduced Stress
This may not seem as obvious but stress can be a major factor in neck pain. Yoga helps to relieve this stress and tension with many techniques, some of which include being in certain positions for extended periods of time to relieve tension and breathing techniques to calm the body.
This is one of the most common reasons people do yoga, after a long day or week of stress in their daily lives, yoga helps them relax and relieve any tension they have built up.
Yoga also helps to fight anxiety and depression, as this study on the effects of yoga on depression and anxiety of women, 34 women diagnosed with anxiety disorder tried yoga classes twice a week for two months. At the end of those two months of practice, those who had done yoga had significantly lower levels of anxiety compared to the control group. If you’re wondering “should I do yoga if my neck hurts?”, I would say yes, especially if you find yourself very stressed throughout the day or week.
Dangers Of Yoga For The Neck
Although there are many incredible benefits yoga will provide to help ease your neck pain and prevent it from happening again in the future, there are also some dangers that must be avoided. These dangers can pose injury risks or further an existing injury if they are not avoided, so lets go over a few.
These are 2 yoga poses I highly recommend you avoid at all costs, although there are more I will focus on these 2, they are known to cause neck injuries, especially in beginner yoga practitioners. If you also have had previous neck injuries, it is also highly recommended to avoid these at all costs, because these poses will very likely make your injuries worse.
My best advice for anyone who is coming into yoga to relieve their neck pain and prevent it in the future is to use caution and do not do anything that puts too much stress on the neck. The best way to relieve neck pain is to do gentle stretches and yoga poses that will not put too much pressure on the neck. Doing this will keep you safe. I’ve seen some of these poses when first considering yoga and wondered if I should do yoga if my neck hurts. I recommend you do because it is amazing, just avoid these 2 poses.
This pose requires very good core strength and requires I would say, perfect form. There are many cases of people injuring their neck or experiencing neck pain from this pose. You basically are holding a position which can place your entire body weight onto your neck if done incorrectly, this will stress the discs in the neck and put massive amounts of pressure on them. Combine that with holding this position for long periods of time and this is a recipe for disaster.
2. Shoulderstand and Plow
These positions can put the neck in a very vulnerable position, if you place your body weight incorrectly and too much weight is placed on the top of the spinal column, you expose yourself to serious neck injuries. Poor alignment of the legs can also increase the risk of this pose and increase the possibility of a stain.
Now that we have gone through all of the benefits and dangers yoga can have for your neck, hopefully you have an answer to the question “should I do yoga if my neck hurts?”, I recommend you try it out because it has many amazing benefits that can improve your overall well being. I also wondered if I should do yoga if my neck hurts, but once I tried it out, I was extremely happy I did it.
I just highly recommend avoiding any poses that can put stress on the neck, if you avoid those, you will be fine and yoga will be of incredible benefit to you.