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Published on December 22, 2021

9 Simple Exercises To Fix Your Bad Neck Posture

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9 Simple Exercises To Fix Your Bad Neck Posture

Poor neck posture can put a lot of strain on the muscles, ligaments, and joints of your neck, causing some kind of discomfort that is vaguely described as Tension Neck Syndrome. Quite common, this is usually a dull pain felt around where the neck and the shoulders meet, around the arm.

Sometimes, it also presents other symptoms, such as tension headaches and anxiety. Are you experiencing any of these? Then you might be suffering from the effects of bad neck posture. Below are nine simple exercises that should help you fix your bad neck posture and offer quick relief.

1. Chin Tucks

This is a simple yet effective exercise able to relieve tension from bad neck posture. It targets the deeper muscles of your neck and releases the built-up pressure on them.

To perform this exercise, all you need to do is sit erect and look right ahead. Now, place a finger, preferably your index finger, on your chin.

Holding this finger in place, you should begin pulling your head back until you feel some stretching around your neck. Remain in the position you felt the stretch for a couple of seconds. Let’s say, ten to fifteen seconds.

Now, move your head and chin forward until your chin is in contact with your finger again. Repeat the process as many times as you can.[1]

2. Shoulder Shrugs

Shoulder shrugs are another effective exercise to help with a neck strain. They are simple to perform and can be performed at home, with or without weights. This exercise works on a muscle called the trapezius muscle.

As the name suggests, this trapezius muscle is a trapezoid muscle around the back of your neck and your upper back. It is usually the most frequently affected muscle in cases of bad neck posture and must be eased for relief to be felt.

To perform shoulder shrugs, you have got to stand erect, looking right ahead. Your feet must be flat on the ground. They should not be arched, and you should not be putting on any heels.

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Place your arms beside you, your palms facing your body if you’re performing without weights. If you are performing the exercise with weights, you should have your weights in your hands. Now, lower your knees a bit, and your feet should not move.

Pull in a deep breath as you raise your shoulders high as if trying to make your shoulders meet your ears. Don’t raise your shoulders too fast. Raise slowly in such a way that you feel some form of anti-pressure.

Begin lowering your shoulders, slowly too, as you exhale. Repeat over and over.

3. Head Tilt

This simple yet effective exercise primarily targets your deltoid muscles, also affecting the synergistic muscles of your neck and upper back. The deltoid muscle is one of the muscles affected by bad neck posture and has to be eased if relief must be felt.

You do not need equipment to perform head tilts. It can easily be performed at home and by anyone.

To perform head tilts, you should stand erect, your feet two to three feet apart. It is important that your feet are apart from each other.

Now, move your head from one side to the other. The movement should be done in such a way that it seems like you are trying to touch your shoulders with your ears. Repeat the movements as many times as you want.[2]

4. Nods

Nodding is an effective way to relieve neck tension as it targets deep neck muscles, which are often the center of neck discomfort. As funny as this sounds, it is true. So, how do you go about performing this exercise? Do you just sit there and nod your way into relief? Pretty much yes.

To perform this exercise, all you have got to do is sit erect, looking right ahead. Move your chin downward, as if you’re nodding, only this time you should lower your chin until it is almost touching your chest area.

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Repeat over and over until you feel you have had enough. Rest, and go on. Relief should come real quick!

5. Child’s Pose

This exercise is quite easy to perform and works very effectively. It targets your upper body muscles; as you stretch, these muscles relax, the tension on them easing up.

To perform the child’s pose, you have got to first sit. Have you seen a child sitting before? You have got to kneel and sit just like that. Sit with your legs folded, your toes teaching each other, your butt atop your heels. Your knees should not be in contact. They should be about one foot or two feet away from each other.

Now, fall forward, your arms outstretched, your forehead touching the ground. It’s fine if your arms are not outstretched, though. You can just keep them in place beside you as long as they don’t move and you don’t break the pose. Remain in this position for some minutes, practicing breathing exercises as you relax.[3]

6. Prone Cobra

This exercise effectively strengthens the muscles of the shoulder joint, neck muscles, and upper back muscles. It is a simple exercise to perform yet advanced in action.

To perform the prone cobra, you should lie on your belly, face down, forehead touching the ground. Put your arms beside you, your palms on the floor. Press the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

Now, slowly, try to make your shoulder blades meet each other. Your shoulder blades are also called your scapulae, bones that attach your upper body to the back.

Take your hands off the ground. With your palms facing outside, roll your elbows inward and do a thumbs up. Now, lift your forehead a few inches above the ground. Maintain the position for about ten to fifteen minutes. Repeat.

So that your forehead does not sustain scratches, you might want to put a towel on the ground. You should also be careful not to stretch too hard. [4]

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7. The YTWL Exercise

This is a simple-to-perform exercise that aims to work the spine muscles. It stretches tight spine muscles while straightening out the weak muscles. To perform this exercise, you do not need equipment. It can easily be done at home or the office.

Raise your arms and form a letter ‘Y’ with your palms pointing forward. Now, pull your arms back while making sure your elbows are kept straight. Hold still for about 30 seconds.

You should now go into the ‘W’ position. To do this, pull your arms down just a little bit, making sure your elbows are pointing down. Hold for another 30 seconds.

After this, spread your arms in such a way that you are doing a ‘T’ with your palms facing forward. Put your arms back again and hold for 30 seconds.

Then, go down to form an L with the elbows in the side and fingers pointing in opposite directions. Pull your forearms back and hold out for another 30 seconds.

8. Pectoralis Stretch

This exercise is great for the muscles of your shoulder and your upper back. It’s quite simple to perform and can easily be done at home. To perform this exercise, you only need two things: yourself and a doorway.

Move into the doorway and put your forearms across the doorframe, one forearm on one side and the other forearm the other way. Your elbows should be bent. They should look something like a right angle, which is ninety degrees.

Release the weight of your body so that your body falls forward just a bit, and you start to feel some stretching around your chest and shoulders.

Hold for a couple of seconds, between ten and twenty seconds, and then release. Repeat the procedure several times. Relief comes quite fast.

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9. Overhead Arm Reach

This simple exercise targets both the deep and superficial muscles of the neck and works on other muscles of the upper back, arm, and torso. You only need a chair to perform this exercise.

To do the overhead arm reach, you should sit on a chair with both your feet touching the ground. Your feet should not be arched. They should be flat.

Now, raise your right arm above your head, reaching to the left side of your body. Bend your torso until you feel some stretching.

Return to how you started. Repeat this exercise about five times, changing between left and right arms.

Bottom Line

Discomfort from bad neck posture is common, especially among office workers who sit all day. This is a result of strained muscles, ligaments, and joints. Discomfort from bad neck posture can range from dull pain to tension headaches to even anxiety and sleep trouble.

Exercises are a known way to relieve neck tension from bad neck posture. If done right and consistently, relief comes fast. Be careful not to go too far with these exercises. Never stretch your muscles too much.

Featured photo credit: Keenan Constance via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Spine Health: Easy Chin Tucks for Neck Pain
[2] Drugs.com: Neck Exercises
[3] Whatsdalatest: Ten Text Neck Pain Home Remedies For Quick Relief
[4] Exercise.com: Prone Cobra

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Sara Leandro

Sara Leandro is a certified health coach who helps people make lifestyle changes that meet their unique needs and health goals.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

12 Causes of Lower Right Back Pain (And How to Relieve It)

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12 Causes of Lower Right Back Pain (And How to Relieve It)

Lower right back pain can be hard to shake. Even mild back pain can damper your energy levels and take away your focus at work. If you’re experiencing lower right back pain, it’s time to get to the bottom of your back pain.

Don’t write off your pain as simply a bad night’s rest. You deserve to know the cause of your lower right back pain – and how to relieve it.

Luckily, most cases of lower right back pain are a result of musculoskeletal issues and not an urgent medical crisis. Of course, that doesn’t make your back pain any less serious. Whatever the cause, you’ll need to treat your condition to get better, even if that means self-care remedies that you can easily find at home.

Lower right back pain should be taken seriously: it’s often a sign that some area of your body is out of balance. And with everything going on in your life, back pain is the last thing you need.

Today, we’ll look at common causes of lower right back pain and how to relieve it. Let’s get your back on track, so that you can feel great again.

Urgent Lower Right Back Pain Symptoms

Before we get started on common causes of lower right back pain, let’s look briefly at urgent symptoms to watch out for.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you should go to the emergency room to rule out urgent conditions.

  • Intense pain that’s sudden or sharp
  • Intense pain coupled with fever, nausea, vomiting or incontinence
  • Intense pain coupled with swelling or feelings of fullness
  • Intense pain coupled with urinary symptoms

These symptoms could be signs of urgent conditions such as appendicitis, kidney infections, kidney stones or endometriosis. Don’t take any chances and see a doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

Common Causes of Lower Right Back Pain

Now, let’s turn to common musculoskeletal causes of lower right back pain. By learning more about these causes, you’ll be better prepared to get quick pain relief.

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1. Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are the number one cause of lower right back pain.

What’s the difference between a sprain and a strain? In essence, they are similar injuries. Sprains happen when you overextend or tear ligaments (tissues connecting joints); strains happen when you tear muscles or tendons (tissues connecting muscles). Typically, you’ll feel swelling, stiffness, bruising, cramping and/or spasms in your lower right back.

You usually know when you have a sprain or strain because you did something to trigger it. This could be an everyday activity, such as a sports injury, lifting something heavy, household falls or overexercising. Any sudden movements, or unnatural twisting and turning can also injure your muscles.

While both sprains and strains can heal on their own, you can help speed up the recovery process. Generally, the R.I.C.E. formula is recommended, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.[1] The idea is to limit the use of your back muscles, ice them and apply any compression bandages. By following this formula, your lower right back should feel better in no time.

Since back sprains and strains often recur, you should also consider stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent re-injury. Building up your back muscles, following warm-up or cool-down exercises and learning proper form and posture can also boost your back and prevent it from becoming chronic pain.

2. Disc Degeneration

While a natural part of the aging process, disc degeneration can also cause lower right back pain. Disc degeneration happens when the discs that hold up the vertebrae start to decay. With this wear-and-tear, the vertebrae have less protection and begin to rub together painfully.

Getting relief from disc degeneration can be tricky, because there’s no cure for this natural decay. Sometimes doctors will recommend physical therapy, massage therapy or chiropractic for possible benefits by changing your posture and movements, as well as using adjustments and the therapeutic touch for pain relief.[2]

In extreme cases, you may even consider steroid injections or surgery. However, most people with disc degeneration will focus on getting relief at home.

3. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is another aging condition that can cause lower right back pain. As the most common arthritis condition, osteoarthritis occurs when the cushion on your joints wears down with age, especially for commonly used joints, such as your spine, knees and hips.

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Specific symptoms of osteoarthritis involve stiffness, swelling, tenderness and loss of range of motion. Since the damage of osteoarthritis can’t be reversed, treatment usually focuses on physical therapy and lifestyle changes, including low-impact exercise and weight loss. Home remedies such as hot and cold packs and supplements are also effective.

4. Herniated Disc

A herniated disc may also be the cause of your lower right back pain. When the spine is working correctly, discs cushion and protect the spine. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, a disc is like a jelly donut. When a herniated disc occurs, the jelly inside is pushed outside of its case.[3] This material then makes contact with nerves, causing pain, numbness and tingling.

Treatment for this condition can be as simple as physical therapy and pain relievers, or as complex as surgery. In any case, lifestyle changes can help with pain relief, including regular low-impact exercise such as yoga, weight loss, massage therapy and home remedies.

5. Muscular Imbalance

At times, lower right back pain can be hard to pinpoint, especially if you don’t remember an initial injury or movement that caused it. However, the way you move and exercise can impact your back pain. Specifically, muscular imbalance is an extremely common source of lower right back pain.

Muscular imbalance occurs when the natural balance of your muscular system is disrupted. This typically happens when you use certain muscles more than others, or do physical activity in an unnatural position.

For example, if your abdominal muscles are weak, your lower back will take the load, creating a muscular imbalance that may cause you pain. In athletes, this a common problem when you use certain muscle groups for sports, leaving others unfit or unused. Muscular imbalance can cause pain spots, such as in the lower right back.

Muscular imbalance is best treated by a physical therapist or chiropractor who can identify the imbalance among the muscle groups and create exercises for boosting weak areas. In the meantime, home remedies are a good way to stay pain-free.

6. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis can cause serious lower right back pain. This condition occurs when the spaces in between your spine narrow, which puts excess pressure on your nerves.

Imagine your spine contracting or “crunching” together. Symptoms include lower right back pain, as well as numbness and weakness. Sometimes spinal stenosis is a secondary symptom of osteoarthritis too.

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The treatment of spinal stenosis is lifestyle-based, including building up strength, flexibility and balance. For extreme cases, doctors may also recommend decompression treatment or surgery. However, many get pain relief from staying active, losing weight and using home pain relief remedies.

7. Sciatica

If you’re experiencing sharp pain on your lower right side, you may have sciatica. Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back down your legs. If it becomes pinched, you may feel pain that spreads all along the nerve, including your lower back. Common symptoms of sciatica also include numbness and tingling.

The majority of sciatica cases are relieved by home treatment. Typically, physical therapists will recommend a stretching routine and regular low-impact exercise. Sometimes, steroid injections are also beneficial for pain relief, though most cases can be successfully minimized by home remedies.

8. Bone Spurs

Another possible cause of your back pain is bone spurs. As the name suggests, bone spurs occur when bones in your spine rub together painfully.

When your discs start to decay, bone spurs become more likely, as the cushioning is no longer there between the vertebrae. Bone spurs are difficult to prevent, but you can get pain relief from home remedies.

9. Spinal Infection

Though less common, a spinal infection can also cause lower right back pain. There are many different types of spinal infections, but the most frequent happen when bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or Escherichia coli enter the spine via the bloodstream.[4] This bacteria then causes swelling and tenderness, and may also manifest as a fever, muscle spasms and lower right back pain.

A spinal infection should be treated as soon as possible before the bacteria causes irreparable damage. The biggest clue is a fever: if you have a high fever in addition to lower right back pain, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. Antibiotics will typically resolve the condition, or surgery in extreme cases.

10. Scoliosis

The back condition scoliosis is another culprit of lower right back pain. Scoliosis is when the back curves in an unnatural shape, usually a C or an S. This curvature then places undue pressure on certain areas of the back. A doctor or chiropractor can easily diagnose scoliosis by looking at X-rays of the spine. Other symptoms of scoliosis include other misalignments in the body, as well as muscular weakness or numbness.

A physical therapist is extremely important for mitigating scoliosis and trying to correct spinal curvature in young adults. Other lifestyle treatment options include using a brace, regular exercise, chiropractic adjustments and home remedies for pain relief.

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11. Joint Dysfunction

Joint dysfunction may also account for lower right back pain. Joint dysfunction can cause inflammation in and around the spine. Specifically, joint dysfunction occurs when the joint in question moves too much or too little, causing muscle tension and tenderness. This inflammation then affects the surrounding area, including the spine.

In the case of sacroiliac joint dysfunction, the sacroiliac joint that connects the hips and the lumbar spine becomes inflamed, which causes pain both in the lower back and legs. To get pain relief from joint dysfunction, you can get chiropractic adjustments, wear a brace or use home remedies to get rid of the pain.

12. Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a serious and urgent spinal condition that results from nerve endings of the Cauda Equina becoming compressed. When this happens, the patient may experience motor weakness or sensory loss, since these nerves are involved in these physical sensations.

Cauda Equina syndrome is considered a medical emergency. If you’re experiencing lower right back pain, in addition to motor weakness, bladder dysfunction or sensory abnormalities, you may have Cauda Equina syndrome.

Home Remedies for Lower Right Back Pain

Depending on the cause of your lower right back pain, home pain relief remedies may help. If you’re looking to improve your back pain today, you can try the following options. Sometimes these self-care options are a matter of trial and error. Be sure to find the remedy that works for you.

  • Hot and cold packs
  • Natural supplements, such as white willow bark, devil’s claw or capsaicin
  • Anti-inflammatory spices turmeric and ginger
  • Green tea
  • Essential oils, including peppermint and lavender
  • An anti-inflammatory diet, including lots of fruits, veggies, fish and olive oil
  • Regular low-impact exercise, including yoga or Tai Chi
  • Good posture habits
  • Hot herbal baths
  • Regular massage therapy and chiropractic
  • Healthy sleeping positions 

The Bottom Line

Remember that getting relief for your lower right back pain is up to you. It’s important to take the time to make sure you’re creating good back-friendly habits and finding ways to incorporate these home remedies in your day-to-day life.

If you’re not sure how to get started with recovering from back pain, you can also see a professional chiropractor, who will create a customized back pain plan to get your back condition resolved.

Whatever you decide, don’t just ignore your lower right back pain. It’s essential that you address the pain and find ways to overcome the condition and get pain relief. Don’t let your back pain take over your busy schedule – you’ve got better things to do!

Reference

[1] National Institute of Health: Sprains and Strains
[2] Better Health Chiropractic: 65 Proven Facts about Chiropractors and Chiropractic Care for Back Pain and Other Conditions
[3] Mayo Clinic: Herniated disk
[4] American Association of Neurological Surgeons: Spinal Infections

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