Considering the amount of time many of us spend either at our desks on our computers, using our phones, or carrying heavy bags and purses, it’s not surprising that many of our clients come to us with neck and shoulder tension. Shoulder and neck tension also play a part in some types of headaches.
The shoulder is a large and complex joint, made up of three bones: the clavicle or collarbone, the scapula or shoulder blade, and the humerus or upper arm bone. The stability of the area comes from the many muscles which makes up the shoulder which you can see in the image below:
If we overuse, or misuse, these muscles in one or more areas, we are left with a soreness and sometimes also a limited range of motion.
Here are some easy shoulder stretches which you may do anywhere to help keep your shoulder healthy. To get the most benefits, you should do each stretch for about thirty seconds, and repeat the series three times.
- Eagle Arms
Extend your arms straight in front of your body. Drop your left arm under your right.
Bend your elbows, and then raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Wrap your arms and hands, and press your palms together (or as close as you can get them). Lift your elbows and reach your fingertips toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulder blades pressing down your back toward your waist.
If your palms don’t touch, press the backs of your hands together, instead, or hold onto a strap. Repeat on the other side.
- Cow Face
Reach your left fingers between the shoulder blades, and reach your right hand around the back to grasp the left fingers. Gently pull the arms towards each other. Hold for five breathes and repeat on the other side.
If your arms don’t reach (which many of us with tight shoulders will experience), use a strap! Hang the strap over your left shoulder, bring your right hand toward the middle of your back. Reach your left hand between your shoulder blades and grab onto the strap with both hands. Repeat on the other side.
- Wall stretch
Stand in front of doorframe bend elbow at 90-degree angle and place palm against doorframe. Move forward to stretch rotator cuff.
- Scapular Setting
While doing this pose, focus on isolating your shoulder blades and not just moving your shoulders up and down.
Start in a comfortable standing position with arms at your side. Move your shoulder blades up, then out (pushing away from your body), then down
- Neck stretch
Using shoulder position from the scapular setting, lower you chin down toward your chest and feel the stretch throughout the back of your neck. Then lower your right ear to your right shoulder, holding for five breaths. Repeat on the left side.
Doing these stretches once or twice a day will go a long way in keeping your shoulders feeling healthy!