One thing is for sure- neck and shoulder pain can be debilitating, especially if they are chronic. In addition to injuries, pain in these body areas may also be caused from excessive sitting, sitting improperly in front of a computer for a large part of the day (slouched shoulders and head tilted forward).
In order to improve your quality of life if you happen to struggle with this type of pain, we will present 9 potent exercises in today’s articles. But, before we head out to present the exercises, let us learn some useful information first.
Superficial Back Line
Our muscles in the body are connected through a fascia or a soft tissue between the skin and muscles. The back line is a group of fascia running from the top of the head and down the whole back side of the body, to the feet. This is what helps us stand upright, among numerous other things.
However, when this line is misaligned or restricted, one may experience pain in the shoulder and neck areas. A hip dysfunction may misalign the lower back, which will misalign the thoracic spine, and impede the shoulder’s stability.
If the neck and shoulder pain is a result of a restriction, you may benefit from the exercises shown below. Otherwise, it is recommendable to consult a doctor to determine the underlying cause for an exact diagnosis.
8 Useful Exercises for Neck & Back Pain
- Head tilt
Sit down or kneel and keep the head above the shoulders. Put the arms at the sides. Inhale and exhale and then lower the left ear towards your left shoulder. Hold it for several seconds and then go back to primary position slowly. Then, take a deep breath and exhale; repeat the same on the other side. Remember to look over the shoulder when moving the head.
- Neck retractions
Lie down on the back and bend your knees. Put the arms down at the sides and breathe in. Move the chin towards the ceiling while keeping the back of the head onto the floor. Exhale and retract the chin towards the throat.
- Shoulder shrug
While sitting down or kneeling, take a deep breath and start elevating the shoulders towards the ears. Exhale and slowly bring the shoulders back. Do several reps.
- Kneeling arm circle
While in a sitting or a kneeling pose, face your palms and thumbs forward. Take a deep breath and move the left arm up to the ceiling. Hold it like that for a bit and exhale. Begin rotating the palm away from the body. Make circles with the arms until you put it back down by your hips. The palms need to be outward-facing and the baby finger forward-facing. Take a deep breath and repeat the circle in reverse. Make a pause and then go back to the primary pose.
- Wing span
While sitting on a chair with the head directly above your shoulders, stretch the arms out to the sides, aligned with the shoulders. Inhale and reach with the arm up over your head with the palm faced forward. Keep the left arm down by the hip and bend the elbows. Reach the fingers towards each other, at the centre part of the back. Hold for several second and then go back to the primary pose.
- Thoracic extension
Sit down on the floor and lean back. Rest the mid back on a towel or a foam roller. Intertwine the fingers and place them under the head as a support. Take a deep breath and begin moving back and forth over the roller. Breathe in and go back to the primary pose and start again.
- Scapula slide
While on all fours, keep the wrists under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. Press firmly into the fingers and palms. Keep the elbows straight. Take a deep breath and slice the shoulder blades together. Exhale, press into the hands and go to the primary pose. Do several reps.
- Open book
Lie down on the mat and bent the knees. Place the hands over the ears and the elbows pointed forward. Breathe deeply and try reaching the top elbow to the ceiling. Exhale and open your top elbow to the back side so that you can touch the ground. Stay in the pose for a couple of seconds before relaxing the shoulders. Breathe in and out and go back to the primary pose.