Summer is officially here, which means we’re all spending more time outdoors and soaking up the sunshine and beautiful weather. As beneficial as the warmer weather can be for our physical health and mental well-being, we also become prone to neck, back, and shoulder pain the more active we become.
What are some easy neck, back, & shoulder exercises you can do to ward off soreness, stiffness, and prevent injury? Active Chiropractic in Eugene, OR, explores the best exercises and stretches for your neck, back, and shoulders. Let’s get started ‒ and if you’re interested in trying massage therapy or chiropractic for your back, neck, or shoulder pain, contact us today!
Neck Exercises & Stretches
Stiff or painful neck, back, and shoulders? You’re not alone. 80% of the US population experiences back pain at some point in their lives, while over 30% of adults will go on to experience neck pain (half of which will become chronic neck pain.)
That’s not all. While neck and back pain are the most prevalent, recurrent shoulder pain affects up to 50% of patients who initially report it.
Fortunately, neck, back, and shoulder pain doesn’t have to consume your daily life and well-being. By being proactive and completing these series of stretches every day, you can relieve pain and tightness.
What You’ll Need: Most of these stretches you can complete while standing up, but you will need a yoga or gym mat to complete the other exercises.
Side, Forward, & Backward Bend
Targets Neck & Upper Back
First, extend your neck upward in a slow motion and look up towards the ceiling or sky. Maintain a straight posture in your shoulders and back. Tilt your head as far back as it can go without causing or increasing pain. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, and return to your normal position.
Next, slowly lower your chin down toward your chest. Flex it forward as far as your head can go without it becoming uncomfortable. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, and return to your normal position.
Then, bend your right ear toward your right shoulder, keeping your shoulders and back straight and still. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, and repeat on the left side.
It’s suggested to perform side, forward, and backward neck bends at least one or two times a day, repeating each stretch at least three times.
Thread the Needle
Targets Neck, Back, & Shoulders
Begin on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your hips over your knees.
With your left palm now facing up, reach your left arm across the right side of your body and underneath your right shoulder. Bend your arm and rest the top left side of your head on the ground. Your left arm should be flat on the ground with the palm still facing up.
Lean into the left side of your body and hold for 10-30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
Targets Lower Back
Lie on your back and bend both knees with your feet flat on the ground. Move your knees slowly down to the left side, feeling a stretch in your torso. As your knees gradually fall down to the side, keep your shoulders flat on the ground (it may help to keep your palms facing down, as well.)
Hold this stretch for 5 to 10 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
Upper Trapezius Stretch
Targets Upper Trapezius & Neck
With your feet hip width apart and flat on the ground, keep your posture tall and straight. Place your right hand on your lower back while placing your left hand on the right side of your head.
Pull your head toward your left shoulder and hold for up to 30 seconds, and then repeat the stretch with the opposite arms.
Child’s Pose to Downward Facing Dog Sequence
Targets the Shoulders, Upper, & Lower Back
Begin on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your hips over your knees. This is otherwise known as the table top pose.
Child’s Pose: Turn your feet inward so your big toes touch, spreading your knees as far apart on the mat as they’ll go. As you do this, lean back and sit your butt on the back of your feet, lowering your head to the mat. Extend your arms as far as they’ll go. Hold for 5 seconds, inhale, and then exhale.
Downward Facing Dog: After you exhale in Child’s Pose, inhale and rise into a table top. Curl your toes, press up, and lift your body as you exhale, pushing your thighs up and heels downward to your mat. Keep your feet hip-width apart and your arms extended.
Additional Tips & Exercises to Try
In addition to these neck, back, and shoulder exercises and stretches, what else can you do to relieve pain and stiffness?
Completing 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise every day can increase your body’s blood flow and loosen muscles throughout the back and in the neck and shoulders.
If you work at a computer all day, try standing up for 15 minutes every hour. You can also try these other helpful tips to prevent neck and back pain while working from home or at an office.
Let’s Stretch It Out!
Neck, back, and shoulder pain are common ‒ but they don’t have to disrupt your quality of life! By completing these exercises and stretches on a daily basis, you can relieve neck, back, and shoulder pain and resume your normal, day-to-day activities comfortably and effortlessly.
Are you experiencing recurrent or chronic neck, back, or shoulder pain that won’t let up even with these exercises and stretches? It may be beneficial to take further action with massage therapy or chiropractic care. If you’re located in Eugene, OR, or the surrounding areas, contact Active Chiropractic today to schedule an appointment!