How To Stretch Your Neck And Shoulders At Your Desk Job

Sep 16, 2019

Many people who work while sitting at a desk eight or more hours a day complain of neck, shoulder and mid-back pain after a long day at work. Aches and pains through these regions tend to arise due to poor posture while sitting at our desks. The muscles through our neck and back of our shoulders become fatigued from trying to keep you upright against gravity while you sit for a long duration typing away at your computer. Stretching the muscles through these regions can be simple and efficient during the workday and can also give your body much-needed movement after you have been sitting at your desk for a long period of time. If your poor posture while sitting goes unaddressed, these aches and pains can lead to chronic pain which can affect your overall neck and shoulder mobility during daily activities.
To help prevent this from happening, here are three stretches to help you stretch your tired muscles so that you can reset and begin to sit with better posture.

Seated Upper Trap Stretch

Start in a seated position sitting nice and tall for good posture. Bring your hand on the side you wish to stretch behind your back.  Place your other hand on top of your head and gently pull your head to the side away from the hand that is behind your back. You should feel the stretch through your neck through the upper trap region. Hold this for 30 seconds on both sides.

Pectoralis Doorway Stretch

Begin by standing in a doorway with the arm to be stretched raised above your head and placed against the side of the doorframe.  Gently lean forward through the doorway and slightly rotate your body away from the raised arm. The stretch should be felt through the front of your chest. Hold this for 30 seconds for both arms.

Seated Thoracic (Mid-back) Extension Stretch

Sit in a firm low back chair with the back of the chair sitting underneath your shoulder blades. Cross your hands and place them on top of the opposite shoulder. Lean back over the chair allowing shoulders to extend back over the edge of the chair to feel the stretch through your mid-back. Repeat up to 10 times moving further into the motion each time if comfortable.
The stretches described above should not cause pain but should help stretch tight muscles through the neck, mid-back and shoulder region to help with promoting proper posture. These stretches can help keep your neck from becoming painful while at work and can also help with preventing neck and shoulder pain.
If you already have neck, mid-back or shoulder pain and these stretches are not enough to help with decreasing the pain then there may be more of an underlying issue at hand. You may benefit from seeing a physical therapist. Find a location nearest you to #GetYourMoveBack!

Stacy Scherzer

by Stacy Scherzer
MPT, COMT | Arrowhead Location

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