By David Nutting, Club Greenwood Personal Trainer
Do you ever find yourself feeling tight in the upper shoulders and even into the neck? If you have a desk job, you may be familiar with this upper shoulder tightness. If this tightness is left unaddressed, it can often turn into chronic pain as your upper shoulders are now absorbing the transfer of weight in this forward flexed position. Fortunately, there are things you can do to alleviate this pain and tightness!
The head weighs 10-12 pounds and for every inch your head comes forward you add an extra 10 pounds of weight onto your neck. Your neck wasn’t meant to support this! When it happens, you will also experience pain in the upper shoulders as these muscles are now compensated and are left trying to support the 10-12 pound weight of your head.
Two of the correctable causes of upper shoulder tightness are from muscular weakness and kyphotic posture. Outside of surgical intervention, good posture and a few movements to strengthen and loosen up these areas may help you find some relief for your upper shoulders!
Exercises to improve posture and loosen the upper shoulders:
Tennis ball myofascial release
Place a tennis ball in a sock and press it against your tight areas on your shoulder against a wall. Don’t press it against your spine, but leverage the ball between your spine and the scapula of your shoulder blade. Take big deep breaths and relax into the trigger point to begin releasing it. Perform for 1-2 minutes on the tight spots, 1-2 times a day.
Sit upright and look straight ahead. Place a finger on your chin and without moving your finger, pull your chin and head straight back. You will feel a stretch in the back of your neck and head. Perform 10 chin tucks periodically throughout the day to strengthen the anterior (front) of the neck and lengthen the posterior (back) of the neck.
Stand with your arms at a 90 degree angle facing away from a wall and your back pressed against the wall. Bring your feet 12 inches or so away from the wall without letting your back sway from the wall. Now, slide your arms up the wall until your back would start to arch (don’t let your back arch) then slowly slide your arms back down the wall to the starting position. Perform 10 walls slides periodically throughout the day to strengthen the mid and lower traps which help pull the upper traps down.
These three exercises can do wonders for you to help alleviate upper shoulder tightness and even help with posture!
Club Greenwood Personal Trainer
Training since 2000, David strongly believes “form follows function.” He has trained hundreds of clients from Navy Seals to post-rehab. His clients call him a transformation specialist because he helped them achieve their goals. “Let’s create a lasting experience together.”
NASM and ACE-Certified Personal Trainer
AASDN Nutrition Specialist