Tight shoulders, neck pain, one shoulder higher than the other, restricted movement in a shoulder or shoulder pain are all issues that we see in the studio daily. There can be many causes, but many arise from our day to day lifestyle. Computers, laptops, smart phones, we all use them but they can affect our posture. Whether you have a desk job or not, you likely suffer from tightness in your shoulders and probably have a forward jut in your neck from leaning to look at a screen. So here are some tips to help and some exercises too:
Correcting your posture is a huge part of dealing with this issue.
- Bring your screen to eye level so you do not have to bend you neck to look at it. This may be you need a laptop raiser.
- Have your arms in line with keyboard so your wrists are not bent as you type.
- If working with your laptop, try not to use it on your lap! Instead place it ontop of a higher surface or place a laptop on your lap first.
- Stay away from the slouch. Sitting in good posture is an absolute must, as is taking posture breaks. Your eyes and shoulders will thankyou for a little move around.
To help deal with those aches and pains from working, lifting, leaning towards a screen or carrying children, here are some simple but effective shoulder mobilisers and release moves.
If you need more support with your neck of shoulders then why not book an assessment and sports massage with James.
Shoulders are one of my picky points. Why? Well firstly because I have had to really work on mine. They have always been a sticking point for me, I remember a Pilates teacher walking down the road with me once saying “Shoulders down” every 2 steps! Carrying, feeding and rocking babies always affects my shoulders and upper back. So I guess you could say I’m a bit picky about shoulders as I know how much it poor posture in this area can affect you.
I would encourage you to look in the mirror at your posture, side on and front on.
1. Are your shoulders level?
2. Are your shoulders rounded?
3. Can you slide your shoulders further down in your spine, so are they too far up towards your ears?
4. Do you stick your ribcage forward? (Ladies, no boob thrusting is needed!)
Here are some exercises to help you strengthen your upper back and focus on your shoulders.
Really good if you sit at a desk for some time and know your shoulderes are suffering. Also brilliant for mums who are feeding, carrying, rocking babies and babywearing.
Shoulders. Officially one of my picky points. Why? Well firstly because I know what it is like to feel you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders and secondly because it such an easy thing to spot.
Sitting in a meeting today I could see that 90% of the people in the room were sat with rounded shoulders and their necks jutting forward. Over time that becomes a habit and that habit leads to a muscular imbalance.
This week I have taught a few classes that are not my usual ones. It’s given me a fresh insight into how many people struggle with their shoulders and upper back posture. If you are in a class with me “Shoulders” is one of my common cues!
I used to have awful upper body posture. I can remember back to being 18 and having a massage. Even then the masseuse told me how tight my upper traps were. Sitting at a desk, working long hours at a computer and not exercising enough really did not help. Fast forward 10 years and Pilates found me. Walking down the road next to a Pilates teacher I remember being told “Shoulders” every 2 steps. Finally I got it 😉
I now spend time focusing on my shoulder function, strengthening my lats and traps in my back. It really works wonders. I also know my triggers – stress, feeding babies and carrying children. In any of these situations I really need to overfocus on my posture.
So how are your shoulders and what are they telling you?
Take a look in the mirror at a few points in the day and check out those shoulders. Are they level or do you have 1 higher than the other? Do you have any pain or tension in them? How do you sit, stand and move your arms?
Some great shoulder function exercises include: Chicken wings, Diamond Press, Sphinx and using weights for a chest fly and ribcage closure.
Here is one of my fav’s at present: