Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pain in the Neck?

Many people spend their days glued to a computer screen and end up suffering from neck and upper back pain. There are some simple things that you can do to start alleviating this problem. The root of the problem is typically a rolled pectoral girdle, "forward shoulders", and this is caused by a muscle imbalance exacerbated by hours and hours of “hunching” over our computers. The combination of lengthened upper back muscles and shortened anterior chest and shoulder muscles causes us to hunch and allow our heads to push into a forward position. This puts a lot of strain on the muscles in our neck and shoulders.

Due to this postural position, our upper back and neck are constantly lengthened and under load (eccentrically loaded); they take the brunt of the strain. Our natural response to this strain is to stretch and rub the muscles that are in pain.  Contrary to the immediate relief that we may get, this can actually make the condition worse by lengthening the long muscles even more.

The quick and easy way to start combating this problem is by stretching and strengthening the right muscles. This routine of stretching and strengthening needs to be done throughout the day in order to have the desired result. Simply going to the gym for an hour a few times a week is not going to do enough to stop the 8+ hours a day of repetitive action.

The first step is to learn what we should actually be doing. The first and probably most important part of this routine is setting an alarm. Every hour you should have a reminder to get up and spend a couple of minutes stretching.

Door Stretch: Simply place your wrists and elbows on a door frame and lean through.

Wall Stretch: Grab a wall or door frame with both hands and push your hips away from you hands.

Bicep Wall Stretch: Place your hand on a wall with your fingers facing behind you. Open your body away from your hand, rotate your neck and slightly tilt you head.

Trapezius Stretch: Reach over your head and place your hand on the opposite side. Apply gentle pressure and reach away from your body with your opposite hand.

Wall Angels: Standing with your back against the wall. Place your elbows and wrists against the wall and slowly extend your hands as far over your head as you can without having your wrists or elbows leave the wall. Repeat this motion slowly 10-12 times.

These stretches can be performed 6-8 times per day for 30-45 seconds. They should not be performed if you have a special condition and need medical supervision for exercise.

Now that we know what to do the trick is to actually do it… set an alarm and get stretching.

If you are already going to the gym and/or getting plenty of physical activity, then part of this equation will be modifying your gym routine. If you sit all day and then go to the gym and exercise your chest, you are making the problem much worse. Lay off the bench press for a few months and focus on upper back strengthening. Generally speaking, you should focus on pull exercises and lay off anything that is in a push motion.

~ Yoshia

1 comment:

Muhammad Zahid Iqbal said...

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