People who spend most of their day bent over a computer recognize how uncomfortable shoulder tension can be. With the work-from-home model as the norm these days, it’s not strange to catch yourself in a poor sitting posture. If you add the time spent driving to the mix, you end up bearing a lot of weight on your neck and shoulders. Bad posture causes the chest to tighten and the shoulder muscles to compress, which can cause pain and tightness in the region.
Sometimes, intense workouts can add tension to your shoulders, so be sure to add some stretching to your routine if you feel this. Other exercises can relieve shoulder tension, especially if it comes from poor posture. Since the shoulder muscles are flexible, stretching exercises can loosen the joints and eliminate the discomfort. However, if you feel sharp pain, that could be a sign of injury, and you should speak to your Doctor or a physiotherapy clinic immediately.
Add some of these exercises to help relieve shoulder tension.
The cross-body stretch increases the range of motion in your shoulder joints and surrounding muscles. Pay attention to any sensation and lower your arms if you feel pain in your shoulder. Standing tall, start by bringing your right arm across your chest. Support the elbow with your right arm and hold this position for up to one minute. Repeat the same process on the left hand and do each side five times.
Upper Neck Stretch
This workout stretches the upper neck muscles and relieves tension in the shoulder region. Sitting tall, place your left hand on your lower back with your right hand on the opposite side of your head. Looking forward, pull your neck towards your right shoulder until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on your left shoulder.
Spinal Rotation Stretch
Since the spine connects the head to other parts of the body, tightness on the shoulder also creates discomfort in this region. The spine rotation stretch focuses on the spinal joints between the neck and abdomen. Go on all fours and tuck your hands under your shoulders and legs/knees under your hips.
Ensure to engage your core and keep the back flat. Start by placing your left hand behind your ears, pointing the elbow at a sharp angle. Rotate your head and shoulder in the opposite direction and reverse the motion, pointing your elbow inwards. Hold for a few seconds and repeat the cycle on your left hand.
The child’s pose is a popular yoga pose known for opening a tight chest and stretching the tense neck, back, and shoulder and even leg muscles. Support your forehead and neck with a cushion. Start on the floor with your knees hip-width apart and place your hands on the floor. Next, shift your weight backward until you sit on your heels. Rest your head on a cushion and stretch your arms in front of you, hold for up to one minute. Hold the position and repeat five times.
The downward dog pose is another yoga pose that strengthens the back, thigh, and shoulder muscles and is great for hamstring flexibility. Staying on your hands and knees, lift your hips above you, keeping your back flat. Spread your arms wide and push them into the floor. Straighten your legs as much as you can and bend your knees if you feel discomfort. Ensure there’s no tension in your neck and let your head hang between your neck and shoulders. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
Thread The Needle
Think of this workout as a fun game of threading an imaginary needle with your hands. It stretches the muscles surrounding your chest, neck, and shoulders. On your knees on all fours, keep your hands under your shoulders so that your back remains flat. With your right palms facing up, reach underneath your left arm and across your body. Gently bend your elbow as you lean on your right side until you feel a stretch in your back. Hold for a few seconds and repeat on your left side.
Eagle Arm Rolls
You might feel some pressure while doing this exercise if you lack arm strength. Grab your opposite shoulders instead if you feel pain. In a sitting position, keep your fingers pointed and extend your arms to the side. Bring them forward, crossing your right elbow over the left. Bending the elbows, use your right hand to bring both palms together. Roll your spine forward as you move your hands. Keep this position for 15 seconds and repeat all the steps with your left elbow on the top.
You can do this stretch after working out or when you return from work. It helps increase the range of motion in your shoulder joints and just feels good. Unlike other entries on this list, you’ll need a chair for this exercise. With your right hand hanging loosely, hold on to the back of the chair with your left hand. Circle your left hand five times in a clockwise motion and repeat in the opposite direction. Switch positions and circle your right hand in the same way.