Shoulder-neck pain is a common complaint due to today’s lifestyle of increasing hours of laptop and mobile phone use. Working from home necessitated by the pandemic, for long durations especially in non-ergonomic postures leads to increased tension and strain of the shoulders and neck muscles. Here are 3 exercises that can be done regularly to prevent and lower the risk of shoulder-neck pain.
Each exercise should be performed gently in 5-10 repetitions per session, 2-3 times a day. Note that there should be no pain while doing the exercise.
- Sit up straight (ears directly in line above the shoulders). Keep shoulders relaxed with your eyes looking straight ahead
- Place your index finger on the chin.
- Without moving the fingers, pull the chin back tucking it into the neck, till a good stretch is felt at the base of the head and top of the neck.
- Hold for 5 seconds.
- Bring the chin forward again to the finger.
NECK SIDE BENDING
- Slowly bend the head to the left side, taking the left ear towards the left shoulder.
- Hold for 5 seconds.
- Repeat the same on the right side taking the right ear towards the right shoulder.
- Trapezius is a large triangular paired muscle of the neck and upper back that helps to turn and tilt the head at the neck.
- For stretching the left side Trapezius muscle, keep your right hand on the head and bend the head on the right side. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds then bring the head back to the central neutral position.
- Repeat with the left hand on the head and bending the head to the left side.
- The Trapezius muscle on the opposite side to the side of bending the head, is stretched and relieved of tension by this exercise.
NECK UP AND DOWN MOVEMENTS
- Gradually extend the neck, by looking upwards and take the head as far backward as possible without feeling pain, while keeping the shoulders and back stationary. The stretch is felt along the front of the neck.
- Hold the stretch for 5 seconds then gently bring back the head to the starting neutral position.
- Gradually lower the chin towards the chest by looking downward and moving only the head as far as it can comfortably go forward. The stretch is felt along the back of the neck.
- Hold the stretch for 5 seconds, then gently bring back the head to the starting neutral position.
The author, Dr Shivali Thakore Kakade, is a Consulting Orthopaedic Physiotherapist, practicing at her clinic, at Lokhandwala, Andheri West, Mumbai. firstname.lastname@example.org