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Stretches



Top 5 stretches for neck and shoulder pain
 
Whether you slept funny or you have been sitting at your desk and staring insanely at your computer for hours on end or picking up your kids, neck and shoulder pain happens. When it does happen, it can be annoying and painful, but it can also lead to serious headaches and lingering upper back pain. To help alleviate the aches and pains try these stretches at home (or right now I dare you!)
 

Seated Clasping Neck Stretch
 
Use your hands to offer a deep stretch for the back of your neck and your upper back. Sit in a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed. Interlock your fingers and bring both palms to the back of your head. Sit with a tall spine, ground your sit bones into the floor or seat. Begin to gently press your hands down toward your thighs, tucking your chin into your chest gently. As you press down, use the heels of your palms to pull your head away from your shoulders. Do this 3-5 times.
  
Behind the Back Neck Stretch
 
Stand with your feet hip distance apart, arms by your sides then reach both hands behind your backside, and hold onto your left wrist with your right hand. Use your right hand to gently straighten your left arm and pull it away from you slightly to give you relief through the side of your neck and shoulders.  To increase the stretch in your neck, slowly lower your right ear toward your shoulder. Stay here for 10-20 seconds and then switch sides.
 
Bridge pose
 
A classic yoga and Pilates pose that allows you to control how much you stretch the back of your neck by how high the hips are lifted. (take it easy here if the neck pain is acute build up to this.)
 
Start lying flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body, with your palms facing down. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor under your hips. Keeping them hip-width apart, make sure both feet are parallel. With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips off the floor. Stay here, or clasp/interlock your hands together underneath you, extending and lengthening through your arms. Try to bring the shoulder blades closer together. Stay here for 30 seconds, continuing to lift the hips high. To release this stretch, gently lower your booty back to the ground vertebrae  by vertebrae.
 
Arm-across-Chest Stretch 
 
Hold your right hand out in front of you, keeping it near your waist. Reach your left hand behind your elbow, pulling your right arm to the left and across your chest. If you feel pain in your shoulder, lower your arm down until the pain goes away. The goal is to be able to pull your right arm across your chest without feeling any pain. Hold for 20  seconds then relax and repeat with your left arm. Repeat 3-5 times.
 
Tennis ball trigger points
 
Your neck muscle are under constant stress keeping your head up. My favourite way to get a full release of this pressure is to lay back with your head resting on a hard surface. Gently place two tennis balls on each side of your neck, trying to find the pressure points. Once you’ve find those, focus on your breath and try to expand your breath and your muscles into the balls. Tilt your head back and forth sinking your neck more and more into the tennis balls.
 
Top 5 tips when sitting at your desk all day
 
We know that “Sitting disease” can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Also based on numerous scientific findings sitting disease leads to an increased risk of pelvic floor dysfunction, serious back injuries and even linked to cancer and other serious illnesses.
 
Here’s my top 5 tips to do to improve your health if you have a desk job!
 
  • Even when you’re not exercising, you should make sure you sit at your desk the right way. Check your desk chair and your desk are at the proper height to reduce strain on your neck and back.
  • Chest openers’ at your desk – Pull your key board close to your body, sit up tall and stretch your shoulders back as if you were trying to grab a pencil between your shoulder blades and try typing here for a while to re set your posture. 
  • Set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour during the work day and remind you to take a walk around the office, or step outside for some fresh air.
  • Always take the stairs not the elevator if it’s an option.
  • Drink bottle(s) – Have x2 drink bottles on your desk and try get through 1L before lunch and 1L after lunch. Reach across your body to grab the left and right one and try to put them further away from you each time you have a sip to keep up the circulation and hydration! (kill two birds with one stone!)

 



 

 

 

 Words by Steph Prem