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    Five Easy Shoulder Stretches to do at Home

    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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

     

    1. Wall stretch

    Stand in front of doorframe bend elbow at 90-degree angle and place palm against doorframe. Move forward to stretch rotator cuff.

     

    1. 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

     

    1. 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!

    Biceps Floss Stretch

    This stretch targets the biceps muscles of the upper arm that bend the elbow and flex the arm forward at the shoulder joint.  These strong muscles run alongside  nerves that stem from the neck and run into the arm, and when tight or swollen, they can restrict the nerves and cause pain, weakness, or pins and needles.   The biceps also play a strong role in posture; short biceps roll the shoulders forward and down, increasing strain on the triceps and upper back muscles.

    Stand with one arm against a wall, extending it back behind you at shoulder height, fingers spread wide.  Maintaining contact with the your hand and the wall, turn your body away until a gentle stretch is felt along the upper arm or inside surface of the elbow.  Slowly side-bend your neck away from the side you’re stretching to increase the stretch further.  Hold for 30 seconds, then slowly relax your neck back to neutral and release your arm. Repeat on the opposite side.

    Banded Tricep & Shoulder Stretch

    This is an advanced mobility technique that uses an exercise band to increase the intensity of the triceps stretch, and helps release restrictions in the shoulder capsule – a collection of fibrous ligaments, tendons and connective tissues that form the shoulder joint.  This stretch is excellent to increase or regain range of motion following a shoulder injury, and can help combat the internal (forward) rotation of the shoulders that often accompanies a rounded upper back (hyperkyphotic) posture.

    To stretch the right side: attach one end of a heavyweight exercise band to the door knob of a closed door.  Take the other end in your right hand, wrapping the band around your hand/wrist as need to avoid slipping and increase the resistance.  Turn your body 180′ COUNTER-clockwise, fully bending your elbow so that it points toward the ceiling.  Your wrist should be behind your right ear and your back  facing the door, as if you were dragging it behind you.    To increase the stretch, take a lunge step forward, allowing the band to pull your arm back a little bit.  Keep your elbow pointed straight to the ceiling and tucked as close to your head as possible. To increase the stretch in the shoulder capsule, gently turn your palm up toward the ceiling.  Hold for 1 minute before releasing.

    To stretch the left side: Wrap the free end of the band around your left hand/wrist, turn your body 180′  CLOCKWISE and repeat as above.

    Alycia Duff-Bergeron, Founder and Clinic Director

    When I opened Anatomica in 2013 as my private practice, I was committed to offering an unsurpassed level of service and care to every client.  Today I have the pleasure of working with a skillful team of therapists and administrative staff that are equally committed to raising the bar in their fields and providing exceptional treatment. Our therapists are dedicated, professional, and focused on your health. Anatomica proudly offers some of the most effective manual therapy and functional assessment techniques, performed by therapists with several years of practical experience, all of whom demonstrate a considerable effort to further their educations and understanding of current treatment protocols. We invite you to visit Anatomica to experience effective, personalized healthcare in an inclusive space, staffed by practitioners that are setting a new standard of professionalism. We are Anatomica. Welcome.