By now everyone is probably aware that we all sit more than we should and it is having a huge impact on our health. We sit at a desk for work, sit at home, look down at our phones more often and sit longer on our way to and from work.
Not only is this having an impact on our obesity levels, cardiovascular fitness and core strength but it is also a big reason behind persisting neck and shoulder pain.
This is tied in most cases to 2 things:
Sitting for too long at a time, and
Sitting with worse posture.
We will chat about what good posture is in another blog but today I wanted to focus on what is causing that pain and few easy exercises you can do to help reduce these pains.
What most of us feel is a sense of stiffness in the back and tight shoulders and neck. This comes from that rounded upper back position we all haev when we are hunched at a laptop, looking at our phone or have been sitting at a computer for too long. We all know we should sit up straight but lets face it, that isnt easy to keep up..
The muscles in your neck and shoulder that get tight are usually one of two. The first being the upper trapezius muscle which runs from the top of your shoulder up to your neck. When you get that big knot on top of your shoulder, that's the upper trap. below our senior physio Michael shows how you stretch out the uppper trapezius muscle.
The other big muscle in the neck and shoulder is the levator scapulae. This also runs from the top of the shoulder and up to the base of the skull. Michael is back below to show us the best stretch for the levator scapulae (it is also a really good exercise for headaches that are caused by the neck).
Now all of that neck and shoulder tightness happens because of that stiff upper back and that hunched position we all spend too much time in. It's a big complex area so we have got 3 different ways to relieve stiffness, improve movement and reduce pain in that area.
First one is Michael again showing us a mckenzie extension exercise you can do against the wall.
The next 2 exercises are with the foam roller. Below we have our chiropractor Michael (I know it gets confusing and they both work at the same Moorebank clinic as well!) showing us a rotation exercise for the thoracic spine.
And chiro Michael is back to show us a thoracic extension exercise for the upper back with the foam roller.
These exercises are great to reduce the effects of sitting in the short term and also potentially reverse the effects of years of sitting. So give them a try.
With that being said there is one thing is very important to note. Exercises and treatment can help manage the effects of poor posture and reverse some effects but it will always be an uphill battle unless you look at your sitting posture first. Sit for less time and sit in better positions. These 2 simple things will make all the difference.
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