Many of us suffer from back and neck pain from time to time. A great way to relieve some of that tension is to stretch and loosen when it starts to tighten up. Try these activities the next time your having problems.
Four-Way Neck Stretch:
Sit in a chair and sit on your right hand. Gently grasp the right side of your head with your left hand and tilt your head in the following directions—hold each position for 8 seconds before moving to the next position: 1. Forward and a little to the left. 2. Forward and a little more to the left. 3. Left (ear towards your shoulder). 4. Back and left about 45 degrees behind your shoulder. Repeat this on the other side.
Doorway Chest Stretch:
Stand in front of a doorway or some other sturdy vertical object ( e.g. tree, pillar, etc.). Place one or both of your forearms along the jamb of the doorway or object. Your elbow to your armpit should be parallel with the floor. Take a step into the doorway and lean forward until you feel a nice stretch in your chest muscles. Hold this position for 5-7 seconds and release the tension. If your arms or hands feel tired or tingly shake them out before repeating this 3-5 times. Do this stretch at least twice per day.
One variation for this is to raise your arms higher on the door frame an extra 45 degrees from the original position to stretch a muscle deep in the chest. Repeat this activity as noted for the previous method.
Elbows In Back Pockets:
This is a simple exercise related to rows which works on the rhomboid muscles of the upper back. Sit or stand up straight and try to pull your elbows backward towards your back pockets. You should feel the muscles pinching at your back. Be sure you do not elevate your shoulders while doing this. Hold each pull for 5-8 seconds, repeat 3-5 times and do this activity at least twice per day.