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  • You know that stiffness you feel in your upper back and neck after you’ve been sitting in front of your computer for a while? It’s not just happening to you. It’s happening to all of us who work at desks and stare at screens for hours on end. You can blame it on aging or lack of exercise, but the truth is that our bodies are not meant to stay in one place for an extended period of time, and when we do that – and not just for hours, but for several hours for days in a row – everything tightens up, and eventually starts to hurt. The obvious answer to the problem is movement, but not everybody has the time or the environment that allows them to get up and walk around. The good news is that there are some simple stretches you can do right in your seat that will make a big difference in how you feel – and possibly head off pain entirely.  


    There are a ton of different exercises and stretches that target different areas of your spine, but the ones we are including here are specifically for your upper back and neck. Devote a few minutes each day to these favorites and you’ll probably start feeling a difference almost immediately.


    1. Shoulder stretch – Simple and effective, the shoulder stretch will relieve tension in your upper back muscles. Just sit up straight and bring your right arm across your body, letting your hand rest on your left shoulder. Now walk your fingers down your back to as far between your shoulder blades as you can reach, helping yourself by gently pulling on your right elbow with your left hand. Hold and release and repeat on the other side. Do this exercise five times, holding for a few seconds each time.
    2. Chest-opening stretch – As good as it feels to stretch out your shoulder and trapezoid muscles, you need to do the reverse for the front of your body. Sit up straight and clasp your hands behind your head, then squeeze your shoulder blades together, pushing your elbows back as far as you can. Hold for two or three seconds before releasing and repeat five times.
    3. Neck stretch – You hold a tremendous amount of tension in your neck, and if it isn’t released it is likely to result in pain. You can release the tension with this simple stretch. Sit up straight and then turn your head left, tipping your chin down towards your armpit. Bring your left hand to the top of your skull and gently pull down, just enough so that you feel a stretch. Hold for a few seconds and then return to starting position and switch to the right side. Repeat five times.


    Doing these exercises each day should provide you with relief from neck and upper back stiffness and pain. If your discomfort continues, you may need the help of our New Jersey back and neck pain specialists. Contact us today to set up a time to come in for a consultation. 

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