5 exercises for neck and shoulder pain:
With lots of us working from home and our usual activities being disrupted, more and more of us are struggling with neck and shoulder pain. This is largely due to changes in our posture, sitting at different work set-ups, being less active and the general increased stress that has come with living through lockdown. Often, initial neck and shoulder pain will be caused by a build up of muscular tension and joint stiffness, which can be eased with specific stretches and exercises. Using a heat pack or hot water bottle over your neck and shoulders can also be a good way to lessen pain, before starting your stretches.
Although there are lots of causes of neck and shoulder pain, there are some things that our Physio's would recommend initially, that can really help:
1. Chin tuck
Use your hand to tuck your chin, stretching the back of your neck. Hold for 5 seconds and relax. Repeat 10 times. Try 3 sets every couple of hours.
2. Scapular retraction
Lie on your front. Keep your low back still and your tailbone gently tucked in. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your head and neck away from the floor. Reach your hands towards your feet to work your lower shoulder blade movements. Repeat 10 times. Try 3 sets, 2 to 3 times per day.
3. Cat stretch
Start in 4-point kneeling (on your hands and knees). Slide your shoulders down and away from your ears, and keep your elbows slightly bent. Round your back, lifting your ribs to the ceiling and look towards your knees. Then reverse the movement, arching through your lower back and lifting your chest and upper back to the ceiling. Repeat 10 times. Try 3 sets, 2 to 3 times per day.
4. Book opening
Lie on your side with your knees bent and both arms out to your side. Keep your back and hips steady, and lift your top arm up towards the ceiling. Turn your head to look towards your moving arm, and stretch further with your upper back and arm until you feel a stretch in your ribs and upper back. Then return your arm to your starting position. Repeat 5 times on each side. Try 3 sets, 2 to 3 times per day.
5. Foam Roll, Foam Roll, Foam Roll - anyone who has ever had Physio with us will know we love to recommend the foam roller for a simple and effective way to release tension in your back, at home. Roll your upper back for 1 minute, then try 5 upper back extension exercises over the roller.
Watch the video and give these exercises a try. Let us know how you get on. You'll notice a difference in days!
If you're having pain that is persisting longer than a week, and you're having any other associated symptoms such as; tingling or pins and needles in one or both of your arms, headaches, dizziness, double vision, or issues with your speech or swallow - please contact a medical practitioner for advice. For specific help, you can have a 20 minute online consultation with one of our Physio's. (Book Physio Appointment Here).
Look out for our Rehab Series coming soon, Pilates videos designed specifically by our Physio's to target common issues.