Neck and Shoulder Fixes – One Month Report

Well, the past month hasn’t been good. The tightness in my neck and shoulders is worse than a month ago when I outlined my plan in the post Overview of the Ideas to Fix My Neck and Shoulders. A quick recap.

  1. Slow Daily Rowing – I had to stop this as it made my mid-back sore and caused muscle spasms. When I reduced the frequency, those problems disappeared, but it didn’t help with tightness. Also, I didn’t enjoy it.
  2. MSM – I supplemented with 1000-2000 mg of MSM daily. I’ll continue to use the bottle until empty, but I don’t see it helping.
  3. Mobility exercises – I still do these, but I don’t see them helping.
  4. Some isometric neck exercises – I just started this, so I’ll continue slowly with it. Nothing so far.
  5. Lying on the floor breaks – Actually, I love this idea I got from Txomin and Stephan. It is very calming and I’ve found increased energy and effectiveness when returning to work. However, it hasn’t helped my neck or shoulders yet.

I just thought of another theory on why my neck, shoulders, and recently back are feeling more achy. When I went from 210 pounds to 190 pounds, much of my stiffness disappeared. I was chalking it up to eating a lower-inflammatory diet, but it might just be a weight thing. So when I increased my weight recently, it might have increased the stiffness. Dropping 10 pounds should tell me if that is the culprit.

My focus for the next month will be on losing some weight, more lying breaks, and breathing exercises. I’ll do one isometric neck exercise session a week.


Add yours

  1. charles grashow

    Mar 19, 2013 — 9:21 am

    Are you still eating a lower inflammatory diet or has your changed in that respect?

  2. Glenn Whitney

    Mar 19, 2013 — 9:35 am

    I had to take 8,000 mg per day of MSM to get relief. I.e. 4,000 mg in the morning, 4,000 mg around 8 p.m.

  3. @Charles – I think so. I don’t eat wheat, legumes or seed oils. There is some debate on whether sugar is inflammatory. I posted that question here:

    I haven’t done a nightshade test yet. I doubt that is it. Any other ideas?

    @Glenn – Increasing my dose starting now. Thanks!

  4. MAS,

    why do you think that losing weight might help with your stiffness?

    It would seem to me that the forces exerted mostly by the weight of your head on your neck and shoulders will not change if you lose an excess 10 pounds in body fat of which the bulk is located in your lower extremities.

    Of course, if some weight loss has helped you in the past to feel less tense in your neck – shoot for it!

    Will you follow any more specific weight loss tactics or just plain old good calorie reductionism? 🙂

  5. I’m not sure if this is the power of suggestion or not (I think so) but I read this this morning, and now my shoulders really ache. I mean really ache. Argggh!

    Good luck with figuring it out.

    And I can see how losing weight might help, if it means your body chemistry is out of whack as a result.

  6. @Stephan – I did gain 16 pounds in 1 year. Maybe my old bones don’t like the extra weight? Just a guess. Since I plan to return to 190 in the next month or three, I should know if that weight is “less achy”.

    My weight loss plan is really all about re-calibrating my appetite. By removing ice cream, but still consume kefir, I should slowly drift down to 190. If it goes too slow, I could always reduce the kefir.

    @Anemone – Not quite the testimonial this blog needs. “Critical MAS makes my shoulders hurt!” 🙂

  7. @MAS, Actually, I have a lot of anger coming up right now. The mention of tension just reminded me of it, and maybe even helped it surface better.

  8. Have you tried to get a series of chiropractic adjustments?

  9. Glad the breaks worked.

    This could be completely off but… have you tried giving up weightlifting/exercise for a while as an experiment?

  10. I agree that giving up weight lifting for a while might help. When I have an area that is painful, doing any sort of exercise that works the muscle rather than stretching it seems to reinforce my pain and stiffness. Seems to be a feedback loop problem for me.
    I also got some Voltaren Gel from Canada, and it helped tremendously. It is an anti-inflammatory that is OTC there. I used it twice a day for a while, then only at night for a while, and bingo, tremendous improvement without side effects. I cannot take any oral NSAIDS due to side effects, but this worked well. Just a thought. Your experience could be quite different.

  11. Once upon a time in my late 20’s when I fancied myself a competative powerlifter,
    I went from about 195 to 165( in about 30 days mind you)just to see if how
    I would do in the 165 weight class. I am about 5″ 11″. I really didn’t loose that much strength but the thing I really remember was how good I felt….like a butterfly….I mean it was incredible.
    Nice and loose and strong. But it was too hard of a weight to maintain, though some weight
    charts suggest that is near my ultimate weight.
    My point is….try loosing weight to see how you feel….it is a cheap fix.

  12. @Kira – No. My experiences with chiro has been both negative and expensive. My goal is to fix my own tightness without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.

    @Txomin- No I haven’t. Maybe once the sun returns to Seattle I can try that. Right now I need the gym neon.

    @Becky – I did give up all shoulder exercises for months. It had no effect and returning to shoulder work didn’t make the problem worse. I suppose I could give up all upper body work for a few weeks, but not until late spring.

    @Gman – I hope you are right. That is the plan.

  13. Sorry if you covered this somewhere MAS, but I didn’t see it. I read an article somewhere about how looking phones, ipads and such is causing neck problems. Since we naturally drop our heads to look at them it causes our necks muscle to strain to hold up our head’s weight in an unfamiliar way. I wasn’t clear how that would be different than reading a book or if these problems had gotten worse, but it was an interesting idea.

  14. @Karl – Found the story.

    This likely isn’t my issue, as I rarely look at my phone and do not own a tablet (yet), but I can see it being an issue should I get one.

  15. Perhaps you could combine the anti-inflammatory diet along with losing some weight, isometric exercises, along with using a heating pad on the shoulders and neck. Have tried this myself with success. Good Luck !

  16. @Bill – Thanks. I also got an email with some ideas from Anthony at The Dream Lounge. Will post an update in a month or so.

  17. @MAS – Welcome and good to hear got some ideas to help. Looking forward to hearing good news in an update.

  18. You might want to try some exercises by a guy named Eric Goodman (Foundation Training). They seem to be more related to the lower back but they are meant to help the posterior chain and posture. I’ve tried them for about a week now and I feel better. You can check them out on youtube for free anyhow, well at least some of them. Good luck.

  19. @Tezza – That video is excellent! Thank you very much. Great find.

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