For those of us in Mount Pleasant and Charleston who spend a lot of time at a desk, tension in the neck and shoulders can be a real and pervasive problem. We hear complaints about neck pain caused by poor posture (which can be a result of working at a computer all day), sleeping poorly and even from talking on your cellphone for long periods of time. In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, “Doctors estimate that seven out of 10 people will be troubled by such pain at some point in their lives. One in 10 adults is hurting right now. And between 50% to 85% of people with such pain will be bothered by it again within the next five years.”
With that in mind, it is important to nip these neck pains early to avoid chronic issues which can lead to even greater issues like chronic headaches, stress and even depression.
Fortunately there are many exercises you can do to alleviate neck pain and our expert DUFFTASTIC trainers are your perfect experts to help you! Here are a few stretches (pulled from our favorite sources) that you can do at the gym to help release any added tension in your neck.
Important to Note
Please check in with one of us to walk you through these stretches before you get started. And before embarking on any of these neck stretches, please heed the Mayo Clinic’s advice: “When you’re stretching, keep it gentle. Breathe freely as you hold each stretch, and be careful not to bounce. Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching. If you feel pain, you’ve gone too far.”
Standing Neck Stretch (Prevention Magazine)
“Standing with feet shoulder-width apart and with slight bend in knees, hold light weight (a very small dumbbel) in right hand and tilt head to left, bringing left ear toward left shoulder. To increase stretch in front of neck, bring chin slightly toward floor. Hold here 10 to 20 seconds, then repeat on opposite side. ‘This one simple move stretches the major muscles that contribute to neck tension,’ says Tricia Brouk, a personal trainer in New York City.”
A Stretch (Fitness Magazine)
“Start by lying facedown on a mat with your forehead resting on a folded towel so your neck is in neutral position, with your arms at your sides and palms down to form an “A.” Turn your hands and thumbs toward the ceiling. Raise your arms as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return to starting position. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 reps.”
ITY’s With Band (Active.com)
Maintain a neutral spine and neck position during this exercise as it is designed to strengthen the various muscles that surround your shoulder blade. Start by pinching your shoulder blades together and then move the arms into the various angles (Check out directional photos HERE) by pulling the band into a low Y, a T position and a high Y. Maintain your elbow angle which will limit rotator cuff strain. It’s important not to shrug your shoulders and to maintain the space between your ears and your upper trap/shoulders. Do 2 to 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps.
Beginner: Wall Scapular Push-Up (Prevention Magazine)
“Place your hands on a wall in front of you with fully extended arms. Engage your core, and keep your body and arms straight as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. (During this action, the shoulder blades draw together toward the midline of your back, and your chest moves a few inches closer to the wall.) Then, press into the hands as you draw the shoulder blades apart, and slightly round out the upper back. This is a slow and controlled movement. Hold the retracted position—with the shoulder blades drawing together—for 2 or 3 seconds. Perform 10 reps.”