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Serious Health Problems Can Come from Having Tight Shoulders, Try the Stretches Before It’s Too Late

Serious Health Problems Can Come from Having Tight Shoulders, Try the Stretches Before It’s Too Late

Many of us have jobs that entail sitting at a desk all day long. For those of us stuck sitting, we’re typically looking at a computer and don’t have the best posture. I find myself almost shrugging when I hunch over the keyboard at my desk, and it causes a lot of tightness and pain in my neck and shoulders, leading to headaches and discomfort throughout more of the body. Though common, struggling with tight muscles still causes us to perform poorly in our day to day activities.

Why Having Tight Shoulders Is a Problem You Shouldn’t Ignore

Shoulders are a complex body structure, as illustrated below:

    The human shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, but that also puts it at a higher risk of injury and pain.[1] More so, the shoulder is not just a joint; it’s part of the neck, ribs and scapula (shoulder blade).

    Even if you don’t have a desk job, think about the way you carry certain items. Do you sling things over your shoulder despite how heavy and awkward it may feel? If you wear a backpack, you may only carry it on one shoulder causing you to walk in a lopsided manor. In order to avoid misusing your shoulder muscles and stay pain free, all four shoulder joints have to work appropriately. Thankfully there are simple stretches to assist you in strengthening stiff muscles and extending healthy motion.

    Remember to Warm Up Before Your Try the Shoulder Stretches

    It’s a good idea to warm up before stretching as strained muscles in your shoulders can cause injury.[2] Warming up is as easy as getting your blood flowing. You want to make sure your muscles are physically warm before exercising them. This can be done by holding your arms out straight in front of you with your elbows locked and pulling your arms back to form a T with your body. You can even warm your muscles by taking a warm shower, jogging in place, or doing some jumping jacks to increase your heart rate.

    10 Shoulder Stretches That Can Effectively Relieve Shoulder Strain

    Sit up straight

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    It may not seem like much of a stretch, but simply sitting up straight and improving your posture helps move the spinal column and soft tissues to increase circulation and blood flow. While standing, slouch slightly forward before over-correcting to an upright position.

    Retract your chin

    You know how your face looks when you open your camera app only to find it’s in selfie mode? Yeah, that’s the look we’re going for here. Move your chin forward, then slowly bring is back by tucking it toward your throat. Do this hourly, and aim for ten times a day.

    Roll your shoulders

    This stretch is almost like a dance move. While sitting or standing up straight, roll shoulders up, back and down in a circular motion. Change direction after 10 rounds and do the same thing going forward. Remember to move in a circle, don’t just shrug up and down.

    Stretch your neck

    This is one of my favorites, as I keep a lot of tension in the area this stretch targets. Touch your right ear to your right shoulder. Now place your right hand over your left temple and apply just a little pressure by gently pulling your head to the right. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

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    Thread the needle

      via Greatist

      This one isn’t as easy to do at work, but it’s effective. Start on all fours and lift your left hand off the ground. “Thread” the left arm through the space between your right arm and right leg, letting the back of the left hand and arm slide. Allow your upper body to rotate to the right but keep your hips level.

      Stretch your chest

      These muscles tend to always be tight, but they help pull your shoulders forward. Stand near a doorway and lift your arm, holding it straight or parallel to the floor. Grab hold of the door frame and lean forward. This will put your arm behind your shoulder and stretch your chest, upper arm and anterior deltoid muscles. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

      Stretch your rhomboids

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        via Physiowarzish

        These muscles are located in the upper portion of your back and attach your shoulder blades to your spine. Find a pole or column to grab. Relax your shoulders as you pull your body back, extending your arms to feel the stretch below your shoulder blades. Hold for 20 seconds before switching sides.

        Scratch your back

            via WikiHow

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            This stretch is a bit more advanced and requires you to be pretty flexible. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t do it the first couple times. Grab a small towel or t-shirt, and bend one arm over your head feeding the towel or shirt down your back. Bend your other arm around and up your back to grab the loose end of the towel. Pull up and down as if scratching your back. Repeat three to five times before switching arms.

            Circle your arms

              Standing straight, make big circles with your arm. Get as close to a wall as you can (it’s okay to brush against the wall). Repeat ten times on each side.

              Go for the goal

              The Goal Post stretch is a great option even if you’re at work. With your back to a wall, allow your shoulder blades to rest in a neutral position and bring both elbows out to 90 degrees. Without changing the position of your elbows, turn your right arm upward and let the back of your hand touch the wall. Simultaneously bring your left arm downward so your left palm touches the wall. Do this for about thirty seconds.

              Do you have any favorite stretches for your shoulders? Be sure to let us know!

              Reference

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              Last Updated on March 13, 2019

              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

              How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

              Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

              You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

              Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

              1. Work on the small tasks.

              When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

              Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

              2. Take a break from your work desk.

              Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

              Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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              3. Upgrade yourself

              Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

              The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

              4. Talk to a friend.

              Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

              Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

              5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

              If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

              Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

              Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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              6. Paint a vision to work towards.

              If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

              Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

              Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

              7. Read a book (or blog).

              The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

              Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

              Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

              8. Have a quick nap.

              If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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              9. Remember why you are doing this.

              Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

              What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

              10. Find some competition.

              Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

              Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

              11. Go exercise.

              Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

              Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

              As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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              Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

              12. Take a good break.

              Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

              Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

              Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

              Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

              More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

              Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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