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Long hours of uninterrupted desk work or entertainment bring discomfort to our shoulders and necks. So in the limited space at home or in the office, in addition to getting up and stretching, you can also spend a few minutes doing some small exercises, which will be more conducive to the health of the shoulders and neck.

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Causes of shoulder and neck discomfort

Many reasons can cause shoulder and neck pain, for example: bone and joint abnormalities, trauma, bad posture, degenerative diseases, muscle strains or tumors, etc. can cause neck pain or discomfort. And our shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with a large range of motion, and such movable joints are more susceptible to damage. Pain or discomfort in the shoulder joint is caused by instability or misalignment of the shoulder joint, fracture, frozen shoulder, tendinitis caused by overuse, nerve root disease, etc. Excluding the cause of disease or injury, most of the shoulder and neck discomforts we encounter every day are sprains, strains or chronic strains caused by sports, overactivity or incorrect posture.

Common bad habits

(1) Bad sleeping posture

Poor sleeping positions can cause stiffness and pain in the muscles around our necks. For example, some people like to sleep with their heads resting on the armrests of the sofa. These postures will cause an asymmetrical load on the neck and cause muscle stimulation. The symptoms may be relieved after a few days of rest or moderate neck exercise, but it will still bring a lot of inconvenience to our life and work. In order to avoid this from happening, it is still necessary to pay attention to the correct sleeping position and choose a pillow of the right height.

(2) Carrying a shoulder bag

When we carry a shoulder bag, especially a heavy one, in order to maintain the balance of the body, we have been using the muscles of the back and neck on one side to keep the head and shoulders upright. Carrying a heavy bag on the same shoulder for an extended period of time can cause the shoulder to start stretching the muscles of the upper back and neck forward and downward, which can eventually lead to muscle weakness and more serious problems like thoracic outlet syndrome. Therefore, try to choose a backpack as much as possible, and don’t carry heavy items. If you choose a shoulder bag, you should pay attention to changing the side of the bag frequently.

(3) Working at a desk for a long time

We spend most of our time bending over and sitting at the table, and many of us are still in a posture with our heads stretched forward. This will bring two adverse consequences: one is the long-term forward flexion of the cervical spine, which leads to changes in the physiological curvature; the other is the forward shrugging of the shoulders, which causes the muscles in the front of the neck and shoulders to become tense and shortened, and the muscles in the back to be stretched and stretched. weaken. Therefore, it is still necessary to avoid sitting for a long time and maintain a correct upper body posture. When using a computer for work and entertainment, pay attention to adjusting the height of the chair and the computer monitor. It is best to keep the upper edge of the computer monitor screen at the same level as the eyes , Most of the current monitors have a very convenient lifting function, and if they are not high enough, you can use old magazines under them. The plane of the display should be perpendicular to the line between the eye and the center point of the display. For a normal-sized desktop monitor, straighten your arm forward, and your fingertips should just touch the monitor. Too close or too far away will easily cause eye and neck fatigue. In addition, just do a small exercise to exercise the shoulders and neck: every hour, get up and walk around.

Small exercises for shoulder and neck

1 Neck muscle stretching

Action points: Sit on a chair with your upper body upright. The head is bent forward, backward, and turned to look left and right: when forward, the chin touches the chest as much as possible, when backward, the nose faces the ceiling as much as possible; when looking left and right, try to look to both sides. Hold for 5-10 seconds at the maximum stretch position and then slowly return, doing it twice in each direction.

Precautions: Keep the neck fixed (tighten the chin to ensure that all seven cervical vertebrae move); breathe evenly during stretching, and do not shrug your shoulders.

2 Strengthening of neck muscles

Main points of action: raise your head and chest, draw your chin back slightly, and keep your cervical spine in the correct position as much as possible. Place your hands on the back of your head and push your head forward while pushing your neck back against your hands, keeping your head still. Keeping your head in the same position, place your hands on your forehead and push your head back as your neck pushes forward against your hands, keeping your head still. The time to exert force is about 3 to 5 seconds; 10 times as a group, complete 3 to 5 groups, and rest for 1 minute between groups.

3 Stretching of the back of the shoulder and neck muscles

Action points: Sit on a chair, keep your upper body upright, relax your shoulders and maintain a normal position. Lower your head, bring your chin toward your chest, elongate your cervical spine, and then rotate your chin about 45° to the left. Put the left hand on the top of the head and gently pull it down to the lower left, stretch to the maximum position and hold for 5-10 seconds. For the right side, the same as the left.

4 Stretching the front shoulder muscles

Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, your toes pointing forward, and your upper body upright. Put the left hand on the back, bend the elbow at 90°, grasp the left elbow with the right hand, pull the left arm toward the right shoulder from the back, breathe evenly, hold at the maximum position for 5-10 seconds, then slowly return to the right side. Each side twice as a group, complete 3 to 5 groups, rest for 1 minute between groups.

Note: Do not bend over during stretching.

5 Back of Shoulder Muscle Stretch

Action essentials: Stand upright or sit on a chair with your upper body upright. The left arm wraps around the chest to the right hand, close to the right shoulder; the right arm clamps the left elbow in front of the chest, and pulls the left elbow to the right side of the body. Breathe evenly, hold at the maximum position for 5-10 seconds and then slowly return to the right side, same as the left side; twice on each side.

Precautions: Do not shrug your shoulders or bend over during the stretching process, and keep your arms lower than your shoulders.

6 TW Stretch

Action essentials: Sit on a chair with your upper body upright. Inhale with your chest out, open your arms, and stretch your hands back with your palms facing up. Exhale slowly, retract your arms, bend your arms, clamp your elbows back hard, and stretch your thumbs back. 10 times as a group, complete 3 to 5 groups, rest for 1 minute between groups.


Pay attention to the above actions, patients with acute neck injury, sympathetic, vertebral artery type cervical spondylosis and patients with intervertebral disc herniation should be cautious.

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