We all know that sitting in front of a computer all day is bad for you. Poor posture whilst working on a keyboard for long hours will result in stiffness and back pain. So here are a few stretches you can do to help loosen your neck and shoulder muscles, without the need for equipment.
Neck and Shoulders
Being hunched over a keyboard stiffens the neck and shoulders. Cervical Stars will improve range of motion in your neck rotators, flexors and extensors and help relieve neck pain. Sit or stand, keeping your neck, shoulders, and torso straight. Keeping your chin level, look straight ahead. Imagine that there is a star in front of you with a vertical line, a horizontal line, and two diagonal lines. Trace the star shape with your head and neck by following the vertical line up and down three times. Next, follow the horizontal line once. Now, trace the two diagonal lines. Return to the start position, and repeat five times
Tip: move in a smooth, controlled manner and avoid hunching or tensing your shoulders.
Warning: not advisable if you have numbness running down your arm or into your hand.
Back and Obliques
The Latissimus Dorsi Stretch will help restore flexibility in the back and obliques and correct bad posture. Stand, keeping your neck, shoulders, and torso straight. Raise both arms above your head and clasp your hands together, palms facing upward. Keeping your elbows straight, reach to the side to begin tracing a circular pattern with your torso. Lean forward and then to the opposite side as you slowly trace a full circle. Return to the starting position, and then repeat the sequence three times in each direction.
Tip: Elongate your arms and shoulders as much as possible, and avoid leaning backward as you come to the top of the circle.
Warnings: not advisable if you have lower back pain.
Upper Back and Back Extensors
The Chair Twist will increase your thoracic rotation and stretch your rhomboid muscles. Sit upright on a chair, with your legs separated and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Moving slowly, extend your upper back and lean forward while twisting to the left from the waist. Reach your right hand to the front left leg of the chair to stabilize your body. Lift and rotate your torso while keeping your hand firmly on the chair leg. Slowly return to the starting position, and then reach to the right side. Repeat five times in each direction.
Tip: lower yourself to only as far as you feel a distinct and sufficient stretch, and avoid lifting your buttocks off the chair.
Warning: not advisable if you have a torn rotator cuff OR shoulder instability.
Shoulders and Arms
After working for an extended period at your desk you will get stiff shoulders and arms. The Shoulder Stretch will improve your range of motion. Sit or stand, keeping your neck, shoulders, and torso straight. Raise your right arm, and bend it behind your head. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, grasp your raised elbow with your left hand, and gently pull back. Continue to pull your elbow back until you feel the stretch on the underside of your arm. Hold for fifteen seconds. Repeat three times on each arm.
Tip: keep your dropped elbow close to the side of your head, and avoid leaning backward.
Warning: not advisable if you have shoulder instability.
Source: www.iglimpse.co.uk; Stephen Bateman; November 10, 2012.