5 Pilates Moves to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Discomfort

If you’re experiencing neck and shoulder discomfort, try these pilates exercises designed to strengthen your back muscles.

5 Pilates Moves to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Discomfort

Pilates is widely recognized for its multifaceted health benefits. Not only does it target major muscle groups, but it also engages smaller stabilizing muscles, thereby enhancing posture, balance, and particularly strengthening the spinal muscles, which are constantly active. This is why pilates is highly regarded for rehabilitation and posture correction.

In light of the surge in shoulder and neck pain since the onset of the lockdown and the shift to remote work, it’s evident that our health has been compromised in the pursuit of productivity. This has resulted in increased strain on the neck and shoulder areas, leading to significant discomfort.

Pilates, especially when incorporating the back series, standing ped-o-pull, and resistance band exercises, focuses on strengthening the back muscles, particularly the thoracolumbar region—the area between the lower and upper back. Additionally, it targets the posterior chain muscles responsible for stabilizing the scapula, which aids in retracting the shoulders and opening up the chest. Moreover, incorporating chest muscle stretches is essential for promoting an upright posture. By addressing these areas comprehensively, pilates can alleviate and prevent neck and shoulder pain.

Egyptian Cross

Egyptian Cross
  • Begin by lifting the arms up and down.
  • From this position, extend one arm over the head, reaching it above and then down.
  • Finally, complete the sequence with small circular motions.

Suspending Position

  • Perform the salutes by leaning forward with your arms raised above your head.
  • Move your arms up and down in a controlled motion.
  • You can perform this exercise without resistance or use a band positioned behind you, lower down, to push upward for added resistance.
Suspending Position

Swimming position

  • In this position, extend both arms fully.
  • Imitate the motion of swimming while trying to arch as much as possible.
  • Lift both legs and arms as high off the ground as you can.
  • This exercise mimics swimming movements and is excellent for strengthening the back muscles.
Swimming position
  • Now, let’s reposition the band to a higher setting.
  • Maintain your arms in the up-and-down position.
  • Bring your elbows down to your waist while continuing the up-and-down motion with your arms.
  • This exercise effectively opens and strengthens the shoulders.
  • While performing this, focus on keeping the shoulder blades drawn together and relax the neck and shoulders.
  • Conclude by extending and opening your arms.
  • During the arm opening, gently tilt your head from side to side.
  • Then, bring the arms together and repeat the head tilting from side to side.

This combination of exercises is not only beneficial for strengthening the back but also for mobilizing and stabilizing the scapular muscles, ultimately alleviating neck and shoulder pain. Consistent practice of these exercises can lead to significant relief, especially for individuals who spend long hours working on laptops during remote work.