With all the advances in technology, we, as a society, spend a lot of our time on computers, smart phones, and tablets. That's all fine, until our bodies start protesting. The human body needs movement. It seems simple enough, but unfortunately, most jobs these days lend themselves to eye strain, poor posture, and long hours of sitting, which leads to stagnation throughout muscle fibers and the fascial, circulatory, and digestive systems.
I gave you guys a couple of low back/hip flexor stretches in my previous post: Fascia & Myofascial Release, so today, I'm going to address shoulder pain.
Most people's area of complaints involve these muscles:
And here are some great ways to stretch them all out!
This stretch helps re-align the cervical spine, improves breathing, and aids in good posture. You can do it five or six times a day, and people that carry bags over one shoulder or work at a computer all day should do this stretch daily.
- Place your right hand on the left side of your head.
- Tilt your head to the right.
- Gently push down with your right hand until you feel a maximum stretch.
- Slowly rotate your head to look up at the ceiling.
- Hold for five deep breaths.
- Repeat on opposite side.
This stretch is a great chest/shoulder opener. It reduces shoulder and neck pain by stretching the short, tight anterior muscles of the shoulder, and giving the tired, overextended posterior muscles a break.
Wall pectoral stretch:
- Place your hand and forearm flat on the wall at a 90 degree angle.
- Turn your entire torso away from your arm to stretch your shoulder joint/chest.
- Hold for two counts. Repeat 10 times.
- Switch sides.
Doorway pectoral stretch:
(You can either do both shoulders at the same time, but I personally feel like I get a deeper stretch doing one at a time. REMEMBER! If you do one at a time, turn your ENTIRE torso away from your arm.)
- Place one foot forward and your forearms flat on the door frame.
- Let your weight shift to the forward foot to stretch across your chest.
- The higher your place your arms on the doorway, the deeper the stretch.
Time to stretch those triceps! (And also, a little bit of your teres major/minor, latissimus dorsi, and posterior deltoid fibers.) So many of my clients suffer from tight posterior upper arms, and this is a great way to open up the back of your shoulder joint.
Please note: If you can't reach your hands together, don't fret! A LOT of people can't, and honestly, I think you save yourself shoulder strain AND you can get a better stretch by using a towel, belt, or scarf.
- Holding your towel in your right hand, raise your right arm straight up.
- Bend the arm at the elbow, resting your hand in between your scapulas.
- Reach behind your back with your left arm until you have hold of your towel.
- Gently pull down with your left arm until you feel a stretch through your tricep/outside of your shoulder area.
- Hold for 20 seconds, working up to five deep breaths.
- Switch sides. Repeat.