Yoga for Neck Pain

  • Article tells you about the different types of neck pains and solutions from a Yog and Ayurvedic perspective.

We are in the digital era where a lot of work is done on computers and smartphones. Besides work we use them to shop online, listen to music, news updates and what’s app. There is no doubt that we are enjoying it, everything is only a click away. The change is nothing short of revolutionary. 


But on the flip side, it has been observed that lifestyle has become sedentary and cutting across age barriers we have become addicted to the screen. The number of cases of neck pain & stiffness, stress & cervical spondylosis have increased. The incidence of cervical spondylosis on young people is increasing every year as is brought out in this report.


The cause of neck pain include sedentary lifestyle, wrong posture, smoking, old age, other metabolic disorders, accidental trauma, surgery etc.


This article provides a comprehensive understanding of neck pain and solutions.


Neck is a delicate part of the body, having wide range of motion, which connects your entire body with the head. It bears 4-5kg weight of the human head. Many vital blood vessels and nerves pass through the spinal cord and connect the brain stem. The base of the brain is called brain stem. It controls important physiological functions like breathing, heart rate, and reflexes. The vagus nerve travels through the spinal column and communicates vital information from the brain to the heart and intestines. 


The neck region is supported by the musculoskeletal system of the upper back & neck region, mainly pairs of sternocleidomastoid and the trapezius. They are responsible for the wide range of movements of neck and head. The neck muscles movements are under control of cranial nerves namely the facial and accessory nerve (movements of head & neck). These muscles adjust themselves, according to the posture of the head, throughout our daily activities. The sensory organs of the head use the cranial nerves for signal transmission like smell, taste etc.


Therefore, injury to any part of the neck and spinal cord may cause a loss of sensation and motor function or sometimes even result in death. Stress is also one of the important causes of neck pain. Therefore, it is important not to take neck movement for granted.


Types of Neck Pain


The good news is that every neck pain is not cervical spondylosis or a severe one. Neck pain is divided into the following categories depending on signs and symptoms, age, duration & response to treatment.


Acute & mild - Muscle soreness, stiffness, spasm, last for 1-2 days without pathological cause, no nerve compression. Typically happens during young age.


Simple cold & hot water fomentation or oil/liniment application can resolve this kind of pain.


Moderate - Recurrent neck pain and stiffness. Neck pain associated cervical disc budge or nerve compression, it radiates towards shoulder, hands & is accompanied with tingling or numbness sensations. It may last for more than 3 days. Typically happens during middle age.


Chronic & severe - Severe neck pain due to involvement of pathological & structural damage, restricted neck movement associated with arm, shoulder and jaw pain. It may last for more than 10 days.


Neck pain treatments


Rest is the most important first line of treatment. Forward bend of neck movement is prohibited in neck pain i.e. why modern science advises cervical collar as external support to the neck.


Please approach your local doctor instead of searching symptoms & solutions online. Medical experts can analyse cause correctly and recommend treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment helps avoid further complications.


Ayurveda therapy for strengthening neck


Apply Nirgundi, Mahanarayan oil at the neck region or Ayurveda therapy Manyabasti (allowing medicated herbal oil absorption on cervical region) is useful for mild to moderate neck pain. It is recommended to do once a week even if you have no neck problems.


Neck pain & Yoga


To prevent neck pain maintain a healthy diet, do exercise and yoga. Do not force yourself to do things beyond your capacity.


Self-awareness is an integral part of Yoga, which is very important for the health of neck and spine. It is hoped that more and more people will embrace yoga, avail of its holistic benefits by practicing it during working & non-working hours. At the same time one should also be aware of one’s limitations and of yogic practices. One should take care of neck at all times be it while using computer, mobile and travelling, sleeping, exercise, weight lifting etc.  

Before practicing Yogic asanas like Sarvangasana, Shirshasana, Bakasana, Matsyasana first train your neck muscles properly with loosening practices or neck movements.

Tadasana. Courtesy author. 

Five Best Asana for a healthy neck

Brahmamudra (neck movements).






Breathing Techniques & Pranayama help oxygen consumption in the cell & blood circulation.

Meditation – Stabilizes sympathetic nervous system.

Pranayama. Courtesy author. 

Yogic Diet


Eat healthy & yogic diet (fresh fruits, vegetables) to maintain immunity.

Protein diet - beans, nuts, soybean have antioxidant properties.

Drink milk, have yoghurt.

Include unsaturated fats present in flax-seed, almonds, walnuts, and fish (omega 3 fatty acids).

Avoid processed & packed food.

Drink 9-10 glasses of water daily.


It is important that yoga is practiced with right understanding of its principles & methods. Yoga definitely helps to overcome stress induced neck pain. However, sometimes pathological inflammation needs rest & anti-inflammatory back up.


Lastly, it is important to identify specific causes of neck pain. Sometimes, it is a result of overuse and not because of computer usage. Centuries ago, Sage Patanjali said the cause of health problems is human ignorance.


Neck pain is the result of ignorance and overuse use of computers and smartphones. Therefore, one needs to be aware & treat the cause to get rid of neck pain.


Author is an Associate Professor, Graduate in Ayurveda from Mumbai University, Master in Yogashastra. She has been practicing & teaching Ayurved and Yog at Kaivalyadhama, Mumbai for many years.


Also read

1 6 Yoga poses to get rid back of neck pain

2 Yoga asanas for neck pain

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