Self-Mobilization Exercises of the Neck & Upper Back
As promised, in today’s blog post, I will briefly cover a few self-mobilisation exercises that will help to improve the mobility of the cervical spine (neck) and thoracic spine (mid-back). In my previous blog post – I touched upon the sitting epidemic which has resulted in an increase in neck, mid-back, and lower back pain and stiffness.
As someone who uses a laptop and a smartphone daily, I think it is safe to assume that a majority of individuals adopt the forward head posture and hunchback posture as shown in the image below:
The image above is an example of bad sitting posture because it puts more strain on the neck and upper back muscles. This will cause muscle fatigue and subsequent muscle aches of varying degrees depending on the individual. Thomas Myers, the author of Anatomy Trains, states that “movement becomes habit, which becomes posture, which becomes structure .” We definitely want to avoid the last part because once structural changes start to occur, it becomes harder to fix. And while poor sitting posture isn’t a direct cause of hunchback posture, it can be an important contributing factor. The bottom line is that we need to think preventively!
Here are two self-mobilisation exercises that I would highly recommend doing on a daily basis:
1) Thoracic Extensions:
- This exercise promotes extension (backward bending) of the upper back which is opposite of what most of us do all day (hunched over sitting at a desk while looking at the smartphone or computer)
- Can help to improve shoulder flexion (raising your arm up towards the ceiling)
- Can help to decrease neck or low back pain
2) Cervical Rotations:
- This exercise promotes rotation of the neck (cervical spine) which is important for checking your blind spot while driving
- Should be done while sitting in an upright position with shoulders back
These exercises should be pain-free! If the exercises are causing more discomfort, please consult with your medical doctor, or north Toronto chiropractor, physiotherapist, or athletic therapist at Lawrence Park Health Clinic. The advice in this blog or any previous or future blogs, is not intended to replace the advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment by, a licensed healthcare practitioner.
Author: Clarence Lau, BSc (Hons), MPhtySt
Toronto Registered Physiotherapist | Acupuncture Provider