We’ve all suffered pain, usually from illness or injury. But what about the pain that slowly sneaks up on you? That soreness in the tops of your shoulders, the stiff neck you find yourself constantly stretching, that ache between your shoulder blades…
What causes this low level, ongoing pain? Barring conditions like arthritis or spinal misalignments, it usually comes from poor posture. We spend so much time working on computers, typing on phones and other mobile devices, and driving, and our bodies tighten up in predictable patterns.
What you can do
1. Be aware of your posture. Paying attention to how you’re sitting at your computer can have a big impact on how your body feels. Try sitting up straight, with your head and shoulders stacked over your hips. Avoid leaning forward as this can cause more strain in your spine, from your low back up to the back of your head. If you often look down at your phone, try to not let your head fall forward – tuck your chin as you look down and raise your phone a bit, keeping your neck straight.
2. Take a quick stretch break. If you find yourself rubbing your neck and shoulders for relief, use that as a reminder to change things up. Walk away from the computer every few hours, and take short breaks to do some gentle stretches:
- With your back straight, exhale and bend your neck forward, bringing your chin toward your chest. Let your head hang – you might feel a stretch all the way down into your mid back. Stay here for a few breaths, letting the stretch deepen a bit with each exhale. Inhale back up.
- Exhale and slowly turn and look over your right shoulder. Inhale back to center, and then exhale to the left. Inhale back to center.
- Exhale and tilt your head toward your right shoulder. Inhale back to center, and then exhale to the left. Inhale back to center.
- Inhale and raise your shoulders up toward your ears. Exhale and roll your shoulders back, then back down to their usual position; relax. Do this one a few times.
- Standing, exhale and bend forward (with bent knees) to relieve low back stiffness. Play around with the amount of bend in your knees until you feel a gentle stretch in your low back. Stay in this stretch for a few breaths, feeling the stretch deepening a bit with each exhale. Place your hands on your knees and come back up slowly with your inhale, keeping the knees bent until you’re standing straight.
3. Move your body. On long road trips, take regular breaks to walk around and stretch. By changing position and adding some gentle movement, you improve circulation and remind your body that it’s meant to do more than sit.
Both massage and yoga have been proven to relieve painful chronic muscle tension and bring your body back into proper alignment. If you live an active lifestyle, bodywork can keep your muscles working effectively, reducing the chance of injury and increasing your flexibility and strength. A massage every 4-6 weeks maintains optimal performance, and a weekly yoga class can help keep your body more flexible and relaxed between sessions.
If you’re interested in working with us to reduce chronic pain, increase sports performance, or rehab from injury, give us a call at (970) 829-1292 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to work with motivated people!