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3 Neck Stretches To Get You Through The Workday

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Have you ever struggled with neck and shoulder tension during a day of work? Have you ever noticed that this tension is even WORSE the more time you spend sitting typing at your computer? This is no coincidence, as the positions and postures we find ourselves in while working at a computer (or tablet, or smartphone) tends to raise the shoulders towards the ears, and moves the chin forward.

Thankfully, stretching can help alleviate some of these symptoms of neck and shoulder tension. Here are 3 of my personal favourites to loosen up the neck and shoulders! All stretches should be held for at least 30 seconds, and should always feel helpful (not hurtful). To begin, try performing this stretches 3 times per day.

Upper Trapezius Stretch:

The above image outlines the location of the Trapezius muscle.

To perform this stretch for the upper trapezius muscle, begin in a seated or standing position. Gently, tip one ear toward the shoulder. You should feel a stretch in the opposite side of the neck. If you need more of a stretch, apply a gentle tug with your hand.

Suboccipital Stretch:

The above photo shows the suboccipital muscle group (in red). They lie deep at the base of the skull and very top part of the neck.

To perform this stretch, begin in a standing or seated position. Begin by tucking your chin toward your chest (it may help to think of giving yourself a double chin). Then, interlock your hands and place them on the base of the skull (near where the neck meets the head). From here, use your hands to gently pull upwards, creating a stretch at the base of the skull and very top of the neck. You should NOT feel this stretch in the lower part of the neck or upper back.

Shoulder Roll Stretch:

To perform this stretch, begin in a standing or seated position. Begin by shrugging both shoulders up toward the ears, then roll the shoulders backward and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Continue this rolling motion. You should feel the stretch through the top of the shoulder and maybe in the front of the shoulder.

Remember, if you have any concerns with your health, always contact your healthcare provider prior to starting a healthcare routine.

Dr. Elaine Screaton (DC, BSc) is a NW Calgary Chiropractor currently practicing at Synergea Family Health Centre in Calgary, AB.

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©2020 by Dr. Elaine Screaton.