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Stretch of the Month: Shoulder Stretches

We’ve all settled down after the festivities of Christmas and New Year and now we are full swing into 2020.

Often this means that we settle back into old routines of working hard hunched over our desks or carrying and lifting our children.

This month we will be looking at how to stretch your shoulders to help relieve some of that achy tension that can develop there. We are going to look at two different muscles to stretch.

Upper Trapezius Stretch

Lets start with the upper Trapezius muscle which is located in that knotty tension area you feel on the top part of your shoulder where it connects with your neck.

This muscle can get overworked as it is often relied on when lifting heavy weights or when holding your arms up. This is not what it is actually designed to do but it likes to try and help out when it can! Its true purpose is to raise your shoulder blade and tip your head to the side.

The picture below shows how to stretch this muscle. To stretch the muscle on the left side tip your head to the right (ear to shoulder) keeping your head straight (not tipping forward or backward). If you feel a stretch in the side of  your neck and top of your shoulder already then that is enough. If you want to increase the stretch place your hand on the side of your head and gently pull a bit further. You can also sit on your (other) hand – which keeps your shoulder blade down – to increase the stretch as well.

Levator Scapulae Muscle

The second muscle we are going to look at is called the Levator Scapulae – its job is to lift your shoulder blade and tilt your head to the side and backwards.

The stretch for the Levator Scapulae is very similar to the stretch for the Upper Trapezius. The only difference is that you also bring your head forward slightly as you tilt it to the side. You will then feel the stretch more in the back of your shoulder and neck than the side. Do all the same things to increase the stretch; gently pulling on the side of your head and sitting on your hand.
These stretches are great to do at the end of a long day if you feel stiff around your shoulders. If you have a tendency to hold tension in your shoulders then making this stretch a part of your daily routine can really help.

If you would like more information about how Chiropractic may help you then you can contact the clinic to book a free 15 consultation with our Chiropractor Hazel.

Hazel Dillon

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