Self Care is vital to maintain a full range of motion for the neck.
Too many people suffer needlessly with preventable neck and upper back restrictions. The most common symptoms of restrictions in the neck and upper back include postural imbalances which result in rounded shoulders and your neck protruding forward as well as pain in the upper back, shoulders, neck and possibly headaches. There are many simple self care exercises that can be done at home to improve posture and reduce upper back/neck pain.
Firstly, laying on a tightly rolled towel and placing it vertically under the spine is a great way to bring your shoulders back and open up the chest which will remove stress from the upper back/neck and improve posture. The best time to do this is for 5-10 minutes at night before bed, especially for someone with a desk job as they tend to spend most of the day sitting in a slouched position with their shoulders rounded forward.
There are many stretches that can be done to help alleviate neck pain and correct forward head posture. The first is done by bringing your chin forward in the direction of the left arm pit. Place your left hand on the back of your head pulling it forward for guidance and extra stretch. Once in this position drop your shoulder blades down and hold for at least one minute to allow the muscle to release. This stretch should be felt through the back of the neck on the right side.Repeat on opposite side.
Another way to lengthen the muscles of the neck is by bringing your left ear to your left shoulder, place your left hand on the right ear and gently pull your head to the left shoulder to deepen the stretch. Hold for one minute and repeat on the opposite side. The final stretch for you neck is to bring your chin towards your sternum stretching the back of your neck. For a deeper stretch pull your head forward with your hands.
Stretching the muscles at the front of the chest is also beneficial for someone suffering upper back pain. Lengthening the muscle fibers in the chest will reduce internal rotation of the shoulder, bringing your shoulder back to their natural position and taking the stress off the upper back muscles. One way to stretch your chest is by using an open door frame, position your elbows at shoulder level with your forearms at 90 degree angles. Place your hand and forearm firmly against the door frame and step forward. Hold for one minute and repeat on the opposite side.
Foam Rollers are designed to release muscle tension and improve the flexibility of specific joints and muscles and are another great way to relieve restrictions. To help ease upper back/neck pain and improve posture lay down with your foam roller horizontally under your upper back, use your legs to lift your hips off the floor and slowly roll up and down on the foam roller. Foam rollers are a great way to self massage and can be used to treat almost any muscle in the body.
Corrective sports taping methods can also be used to help improve postural alignment, reduce stress on the spine and for both the prevention and treatment of the upper back and neck injuries. Correct strapping techniques also have positive neuro-physiologial effects on the body through increased proprioception and increased blood flow to the area.
Self care exercises are a great way to maintain and often prevent restrictions although finding and addressing the cause of the problem is essential to long term results.
At Advanced Myotherapy we can help by assessing your lifestyle to find the cause of the restrictions which may be caused by things such as your sleeping position or posture at work.
Depending on the origin of the restriction, you will be given more specific self care exercises which can be done at home that will target specific muscles to further relieve restrictions and maintain normal muscle range of motion.