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Going Toe-to-Toe with Wintertime “Scrunch” Pain

There’s a lot to love about the winter months. Time off from work or school for the the holidays, all the different seasonal coffee beverages (come on, who doesn’t like a peppermint mocha?), that feeling of being cozy inside while it’s the exact opposite outside just to name a few. One of the common downsides of the colder months is what I like to call “scrunch pain”.

Scrunch pain refers to that stiff and occasionally painful feeling in your neck and shoulders from being cold and literally “scrunching” up to try to assist your body in keeping warm. That habit of pulling your shoulders up towards your ears and your neck in towards your chest can take a toll. Our restorative movement expert, Beth, showed us a short exercise in preventing scrunch pain that we’ll share with you!


During this exercise, it’s important to remember to pause only briefly when you get to the furthest stretching point. Keeping your muscles in motion creates a mobilizing effect, and is better for your body as opposed to a static stretch.

    First, roll your shoulders in large circles, starting up your back and rolling towards a forward position. Time your breathing with the circular motion, keeping your breaths deep and steady - in through your nose, out through your mouth. Four rolls will get your muscles moving.

    Then, keep your shoulders relaxed as you turn your head all the way to the left and right, pausing in the center each time. Turn your chin along with the top of your head as you turn your neck so that your head rotates around a central axis.

    Last, nod your head down allowing your chin to tuck in against your chest, and the back of the neck near your head to open up. Follow this up by bringing your chin up and slightly forward like an exaggerated “yes/no” motion.

While taking a few minutes to stretch can feel awesome, simply being conscious of your posture and tension in your body can do wonders. Check yourself! If you feel that scrunch coming on, shake it out!


Beth hosts a restorative movement class with us at Massage Mechanics, new class times will be announced for January soon. If you’d like to learn more about pain prevention and healthy movement techniques, we’d love to have you join us.