My achy, breaky neck

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time in front of a computer. Or, in my case, multiple computers. I go from eight hours at work to hours with my laptop at home. Sitting upright with your arms outstretched can put strain on your neck, shoulders and upper back. Beyond computer-related stiffness, I’m sick at the moment and my upper body is sore from coughing. Also, from extra hours spent in bed. Stretching not only feels good, but helps to relax the body and release toxins. Rolling your shoulders forward and backward is a good start. Range-of-motion exercises (slowly and rhythmically!) — tilting your head up and down, side to side, and rotating from ear to ear — to gently stretch the neck muscles can help too. Below are some additional stretches to help relieve tension. They can be done at your desk, sitting on your couch or even sitting up in bed just after waking up. Get stretching!


These stretches are from the University of South Carolina’s Environmental Health and Safety page:

Reaching Stretch

* Interlace your fingers out in front of you at shoulder height.
* Turn your palms outward as you reach forward.
* Hold for 5-10 seconds, then relax and repeat.

Overhead Stretch

* Interlace your fingers above your head.
* Turn your palms upward as you push your arms back and up.
* Hold for 5-10 seconds, then relax and repeat.

Shoulder Stretch

* Gently pull your elbow across your chest toward your opposite shoulder.
* Hold stretch for 5-10 seconds.
* Relax and repeat with other arm.

Chest and Back Stretch

* Clasp your hands behind your back.
* Slowly turn your elbows inward and straighten arms.
* Lift your arms up behind you until you feel a stretch.
* Hold for 5-10 seconds

Chair Rotation Stretch

* Sit in chair. Wrap feet around chair legs to stabilize your body.
* Reach across body and grab the back of the chair.
* Pull gently to increase the stretch in the middle of your back.
* Hold 5-10 seconds. Repeat reaching to opposite side.

Check out this article for a number of exercises that aim to increase neck flexibility and muscle control. Prevention is key!

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