Don’t let it hurt – a set of simple back and neck exercises

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Everyone has experienced back pain at least once in their life. WHO experts claim that the number of cases does not decrease, but rather increases. These days 80% of the planet’s total population suffer from such pain.

Why does the back hurt?

There is plenty of reasons why your back could hurt: going from joints and intervertebral discs diseases, to circulatory disorders and diseases of the abdominal organs. But there is a group that mostly suffers from back pain and it’s people of working-age from 30 to 50 years old. Disruption of their musculoskeletal system causes the so-called “office syndrome” – that is, work environment.

Factors causing neck or back pain can be divided into four groups. Physical factors include a long static position of the body – for example, sitting in front of a computer, head inclination while watching a tape on your smartphone, the position of the wrist. These can cause muscle cramps under the shoulder blades, lower back, and neck. Clinical factors – poor fitness, scoliosis, anomalous mobility of the vertebrae. Psychological factors – high levels of stress or frustration with some aspects of our own lives, and eventually individual factors such as overweight or regular lack of sleep.

Only a doctor can determine what caused the pain and prescribe a treatment to get rid of this cause (not the symptom).

What beginners need to know

Physical activity plays a crucial role when it comes to the prevention of back and neck pain,. Some sports more than others help strengthen muscles and take care of joints: swimming, yoga, Pilates, walking and running. Running and yoga are best done individually with an instructor – especially if you have never practised or are overweight: a compressive load can increase pressure on the spine and lead to knee problems. Moreover, it is not ideal for beginners to perform complex asanas on their own – incorrect “twisting” often causes additional back problems.

If it is not possible to consult a trainer, the best choice for prevention is to walk at a comfortable pace and to stretch. Here are some simple exercises that will help strengthen the neck, shoulders and lower back muscles, as well as keep the joints healthy.

Exercises: Turn, Clasp, Tilt

Start with simple movements: turn your head to the right, return to the starting position, and then left. Keep your chin in line with your shoulder. Tilt your head and move your chin to the left and right in order to increase the tension. Then extend your arms in front of you so to feel the stretch between the shoulder blades.

Clasp hands, put them on your forehead and push towards your head, while trying to keep your neck straight. This exercise will strengthen the front side of your neck. To strengthen the back of the neck, place your hands on the back of your head and try to simultaneously push with your hands while resisting pressure.

Work with your shoulders: lower your chin to the right, and reach down with your left hand. Change sides and repeat the exercise several times. Pull your shoulders forward, then pull them back while keeping your elbows bent, as if lifting a dumbbell. Then loosen up. Bring your elbows to the sides, put your hands on your shoulders and rotate your joints – forward and backward.

Simple inclinations are useful to strengthen and stretch the spine. Stand against the wall at a fairly limited distance so you can rest against it, arms outstretched in front of you. Separate your feet shoulder-width, lean forward, as if detaching from the wall, and tilt for about 30 seconds.

All these exercises can be performed both in a sitting and standing position – no sports equipment required and not much time needed, even in the busiest work schedule.
It’s fundamental to do pain prevention exercises regularly.

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