I don’t know about you, but my neck and shoulders are constantly bothering me. We spend a lot of our daily lives looking down. Down at our computers, phones, reading, or just avoiding that awkward eye contact with the stranger on the bus. It is a recipe for neck, back and shoulder pain that is hardly relieved by a massage every once in awhile. Some good ways of helping relieve and avoid building up tension and pain in these areas is stretching. Yes, you have probably heard this before, but take a chance and set a timer on your phone for every hour or make it a point that whenever you get up to go to the restroom you take a chance to stretch. It’s easy, helps reduce stress and will keep your neck, shoulders and back able to hold up that big noggin’ of yours!

Try out the stretches below a couple times a day and feel refreshed, relieved and relaxed:

While sitting in your chair imagine a string running through the top of your head pulling it straight up. Shrug your shoulders up and roll them back so that you are sitting up straight.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.26.25 AM

Take your right hand and stick it straight out to your side. Point all your fingers straight out.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.17.00 AM

Let your arm fall to about your hip height or whatever point at which you begin to feel a stretch from your neck through your fingers. Keep your gaze forward. Breath in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 4. Do this breathing sequence four times.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.17.28 AM

Then look up to the left while doing the 4 count of breaths in and out.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.17.55 AM

Look up and to the left and repeat the breathing.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.18.16 AM

Look down and to the left, continuing the breathing routine. Repeat on the left side.

If you have a wall available nearby walk up and place a hand on it. Stand about a foot away from the wall.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.24.07 AM

Place your hand low on the wall and turn away until you feel a stretch in your chest. Hold for a count of 15 seconds.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.24.19 AM

Place your hand a little higher about shoulder height and once again turn away from the wall until you feel a stretch, holding for 15 seconds.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.24.36 AM

Finally, place your hand high on the wall and do the same turning until you feel a stretch and holding for 15 seconds. This will stretch your pectorals which get all bunched up while hunching over your computer/smartphone/book etc. 

If you’re especially limber, pat yourself on the back for being kind to your body and stretching.