One of my goals this year is to step out of my comfort zone and what better way than to write a blog about neck exercises and use myself as a model. Scary thought.
Because these exercises have helped me so much, I wanted to share them with other writers or anyone who sits behind a computer all day. As you know writing is sedentary work, and can result in neck, shoulder and back pain. That's where I was a few years ago.
Before I continue, I am not a physical therapist, and if you have any doubts about doing exercises, consult your doctor.
Burning pain under my shoulder blade and through my neck resulted in a visit to an orthopedic doctor who sent me to a physical therapist. She gave me a set of exercises that stopped the pain and allowed me to get back to writing.
The first exercise is a stretching exercise for the neck. Sit in a chair, (can be your office chair) and place one hand on top of your head and the other behind your back. Make sure you are sitting tall.
Disregard all the kitty toys in the floor and the flower coming out of my head.
Next, pull your head over like you were trying to smell under your arm. Hold this stretch for a count of 20. Be sure to focus on letting those muscle relax. Go ahead, try it. I'll wait.
Doesn't that feel good!
Now do the same thing for the other side. I do ten of these every morning after I get out of bed. This is after I've stretched my hamstrings (before getting up). If you have tight hamstrings, you probably have back pain. Tight hamstrings = shorten muscles that support your back. And this can cause pain.
The next exercises I do are head rolls and shoulder rolls. For the head roll, I sit straight, and look as far as I can to the left for a count of 10. If I'm looking to the left, I put my right arm behind my back. This gives more stretch. Then I look forward and press my finger to my chin, pushing it in and stretching my neck. I hold this for a count of 10. Be sure to repeat the first exercise by turning your neck as far to the right as you can.
The shoulder rolls are just that. Rolling your shoulders, first one way, then another.
When I started these exercises, I set a timer and did them about every 4 hours. Now I only do them first thing in the morning.
I really want to encourage anyone who sits at a desk all day to find some type of stretching exercise. These just happen to be the ones that have helped me to stay pain freer...if that's a word. At my age, pain and I are old friends. But I believe in exercise. I was facing knee replacement surgery later this year, but since I've been doing a 100 leg lifts with 5 pound weights on each leg, the muscles above the knee are doing their job and surgery has been cancelled.
What exercises do you do to feel better?