Do you experience headaches, neck pain, or shoulder pain during or after your workday?

As I mentioned in a previous post, posture and positioning can play a huge role in how we feel. Also, many of us “carry” stress in our shoulders and neck region, often resulting in a tense posture with shoulder elevation.

The main muscle responsible for this position is the upper trapezius muscle. The upper trapezius muscle originates at the base of the skull/top of the neck and extends downward along the neck and inserts along the top of the shoulder. Therefore, tightness in this muscle may put tension on the head, neck, and/or shoulder. In addition to improving postural awareness as mentioned in the previous post, intermittent gentle stretching of the upper trapezius muscle may decrease pain, stiffness, and headaches.

Here is an easy way to stretch the upper trapezius muscle to promote improved mobility.

1.Sit with upright posture in a hard, armless chair (armless is ideal but not required).
2.If stretching right side, reach down with the right arm and grab the bottom of the chair.
3.Then GENTLY lean your head (ear) towards your left shoulder.
4.Only go to the point of tension- do not push into it.
5.Hold for 30-60 seconds.
6.Slowly return to neutral and repeat with left doing the opposite.

Some tips and key points to remember!

– I can not emphasize the word GENTLY enough!!! “No pain, no gain” is not applicable in stretching.
– If the stretch becomes painful, slowly move your head back towards the center to decrease the intensity.

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