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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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              Heather Poole

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              Last Updated on December 9, 2019

              5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

              5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

              Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

              Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

              Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

              1. Get Rationally Optimistic

              Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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              This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

              In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

              The result: no more mental stress.

              2. Unplug

              Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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              How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

              It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

              Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

              3. Easy on the Caffeine

              Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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              Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

              4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

              That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

              How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

              • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
              • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
              • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

              While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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              5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

              This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

              The result: mental stress will be gone!

              So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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              Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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