Tag : neck-pain

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6 Easy Stretching Exercises you can do during Long days of Sitting

You had a long day at work. 4-6 hours sitting in front of your desktop or laptop revising drafts, preparing your monthly reports and answering emails and phone calls. The sensation of stiffness and discomfort begins to arise on your upper neck and shoulders, limitation of motion occurs and your energy levels throughout the day begins to drop — with more work to be done the next day. These are common scenarios when the tissues of your upper back and shoulder begin to loose their grip causing intense discomfort and stiffness. Prolonged symptoms may lead to Cervicogenic headache and permanent postural abnormalities.

One of the functions of your shoulder and neck muscles specifically your Trapezius, Erector Spinae and Cervical muscles is to maintain the upright alignment of your spine during sitting and standing activities. Even though you were taught proper posture in sitting or have been through some postural correction programs, it is still possible to feel the discomforts of prolonged sitting. In a PT’s perspective this is NORMAL! This is due to the overuse of your postural muscles to maintain that awesome posture you are in. In a study conducted by Kristina Schouldt, improper sitting work postures like Slouched or slump sitting exhibited higher shoulder and neck muscle activity compared to people who observe proper posture.  A study on low back pain conducted by Christie J Heather a Physical therapist — postural aberration in sitting tend to affect the upper back muscular more compared to the lower back, thus it is important to observe proper maintenance on these muscles in order to maintain your efficiency at work.

What is important is to make sure these muscles are mobilized and stretched periodically. A good habit (which I always do when working on my blog or preparing for next week’s lesson plan) is to perform 5 min stretching breaks for every 30 mins of desk work.

Below are simple neck and shoulder stretching exercise you can do in 5 minutes or less! These exercises were sourced from Grandmaster Ted Gambordella’s  The Ultimate Stretching Manual: 175 Stretches for every body part. You can find this book at Amazon and Google books

When performing the exericse be sure to hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds and BREATHE NORMALLY to achieve optimal effects! These stretches must be performed passively ,meaning there must be no contractions from the muscle you want to stretch, all movements must be done self-assistively (EXCEPT for number 4 and 5)

1. Neck Rotations


Grandmaster Ted Gambordella’s  The Ultimate Stretching Manual CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 19, 2008) Page 180

Place your fist or the palm of your hand on mandible or side chin the gently push your head to the opposite side. Do these in both sides

2. Neck Flexion


Grandmaster Ted Gambordella’s  The Ultimate Stretching Manual CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 19, 2008) Page 181

Place both hands at the back of your head and gently pull down to end range. Be sure that your upper back does not go along with the stretch force

3. Neck Extension

Using a semi-clenched fist placed on both sides of your chin, gently push your head backward until end range. Be sure to keep your back from going along with the stretch. Keep it straight and steady.

4. Upper Trapezius Stretching


Grandmaster Ted Gambordella’s  The Ultimate Stretching Manual CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 19, 2008) Page 192

Hold a steady surface using your hand on the side to be stretched and bend your head to the opposite side to stretch the Trapezius muscle. The stretch can be intensified by pulling your head more to the opposite side but still following the same motions. This particular muscle is responsible for almost 70% of patient coming to me for PT services. It is important to keep this muscle in healthy form throughout at day!

5. Pectoral Stretch


Grandmaster Ted Gambordella’s  The Ultimate Stretching Manual CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 19, 2008) Page 187

One of my favorite stretches– not only does it helps keep your upper body from falling into faulty postures but also gives you a sudden feeling of relaxation after long hours of working on your desk!

Place both hands at the back of your head, slowly bring your elbow back behind your ears. The stretch force must be felt at your Pectoralis Major muscle or chest muscle

6. Triceps and Latissimus Dorsi Stretch


Grandmaster Ted Gambordella’s  The Ultimate Stretching Manual CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 19, 2008) Page 14

Raise the arm you want to stretch while fully bending the elbow — with your other arm reach for the elbow and slightly pull to the opposite side. This stretch targets your Latissimus Dorsi ( a muscle on your mid back) and triceps muscle.

Thank you for you time and support! I hope these professional tips will help protect you body during long days of desk work.

REFERENCES
GAMBORDELLA, T. (2004) The Ultimate Stretching Manual: 175 Stretches for every Body Part CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

KRISTINA SCHÜLDT, JAN EKHOLM, KARIN HARMS-RINGDAHL, GUNNAR NÉMETH & ULF P. ARBORELIUS(1986) Effects of changes in sitting work posture on static neck and shoulder muscle activity, Ergonomics,29:12, 1525-1537, DOI: 10.1080/00140138608967266

CHRISTIE, HEATHER J .et al. Postural aberrations in low back pain.  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation , Volume 76 , Issue 3 , 218 – 224 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0003-9993(95)80604-0

GAMBORDELLA, T. (2004) The Ultimate Stretching Manual: 175 Stretches for every Body Part CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

KRISTINA SCHÜLDT, JAN EKHOLM, KARIN HARMS-RINGDAHL, GUNNAR NÉMETH & ULF P. ARBORELIUS(1986) Effects of changes in sitting work posture on static neck and shoulder muscle activity, Ergonomics,29:12, 1525-1537, DOI: 10.1080/00140138608967266

CHRISTIE, HEATHER J .et al. Postural aberrations in low back pain.  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation , Volume 76 , Issue 3 , 218 – 224 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0003-9993(95)80604-0