At the recommendation of my coworkers, I’ve decided to go to physical therapy to treat my achy neck and back. One of my coworkers gave me a reality check when she described the immobility in her arms. She ignored the achiness and pain in her back and shoulders for several years, until one day, she couldn’t pull a sweater over her head or bring her arms up to wash her hair. Her situation sounds pretty extreme but that was enough for me to seek professional, medical attention for my own health issues.
I live a pretty sedentary lifestyle – the week days consist of commuting to and from work and a desk job where I’m sitting in front of a computer for most of the day. My bad posture does not help. I knew if I didn’t do something about it, I would run into a bigger problem later on. I’ve gone to physical therapy for a few weeks now and have learned a few things.
I don’t work in the medical field so this is how I understand my condition: My achy neck is from extending my neck out while sitting at my desk and using the computer all day. (This is very bad posture and it totally looks ugly. I see some of my coworkers sitting like this and I’m just dying to ask if they have neck pain.) The neck muscles get tired from being overused and the achiness and dull pain felt in my upper back are a result of the overworked neck muscles. The physical therapist went on to explain the various vertebrates C1-C7 and vertebrae can get pushed out, etc. The muscles that are being used are overworked. . Some muscles that are supposed to be used are not being used, which leads to weak muscles in general.
These are the stretches that I go through every day to help strengthen my neck muscles and get better posture. I’m hoping by strengthening the neck muscles, the referring aches in my upper back and shoulder will go away. I’m just going to list them as I don’t want to give advice on how to properly do these exercises. This website provides a good description: http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/neck-pain/neck-strengthening-exercises
Chin Tuck: this is supposed to strengthen the neck muscles and get me back to a better posture
Levator Scapula Stretch: this exercise stretches one of the neck muscles
Cerv Sidebends Strech: this exercise also stretches the neck muscles, just in a different location
The physical therapist also recommended a couple other exercises involving a foam roller. A foam roller is very dense foam in the shape of a cylinder. You can do man exercises with it. For me, I lay on it with the foam aligning vertically with the spine. I just bought one online and am waiting for it to arrive. When I get it I will be doing these two exercises:
Open book: this strengthens the upper back muscles
Angel wings: this also helps stretch the upper back muscles
After 4 visits, the therapist is planning to discharge me as I’ve been made aware of my neck and back issues. I’ve learned the exercises that I need to do to avoid the achiness and pain. It’s really up to me to keep up with the stretches and exercises.