A pain in the shoulders...
Tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck are ubiquitous in the American adult population. Our lifestyles, from working, commuting and couchsurfing, are conducive to systemic tension in this region that includes the upper spine. It is likely that all the tension in these muscles is also causing some degree of spinal dysfunction; the alarming thing is that pain is likely the last symptom to emerge. That's why so many of us are able to go along with our lives for years, ignoring all the tension we know is in our shoulders and upper back, until one day it all comes down on our head. Instead of waiting for this inevitable tipping point, we like to think that a bit of daily maintenance can prevent it from ever happening at all.
A simple stretch to release shoulder tension
Whenever the thought strikes you, or the tension becomes palpable, pay attention! Use these simple moves to release tension and reset alignment in the upper back. Start with neck and shoulder rolls:
- For the neck rolls start by sitting or standing up straight and lowering your right ear toward your shoulder; next roll your neck, chin toward chest, until your left ear is over your left shoulder. Repeat this motion 5-10 times.
- Shoulder rolls are just as they sound: start by sitting or standing up straight and rotate your shoulders forward over themselves 10 times. Repeat 10 times backwards.
Next, do the cow-face:
- Reach your right arm straight up and then let it drop over your back behind your head
- Now, coming from the other direction, bring your left arm up behind your back and try to join your fingertips.
- If this isn't possible, use a towel to create the tension.
- After 10 seconds, release and repeat with your arms in the opposite positions.
Doing this stretching sequence just once a day is a great way to provide your shoulders and upper back with a bit of protection against the daily accumulation of tension. Stretching is part of the holistic lifestyle and preventive healthcare that we practice at our office in Alameda- if you would like to learn more, please give our office a call and schedule an appointment today.