Stretches

These are some of my favorite stretches to recommend (and do).

I tried to label them in a way to make it easy to remember.

Feel free to print for personal use.

Please remember to ALWAYS stretch gently!!!

 

 

Neck Stretches 

Howl at the moon!

Howl at the Moon!
Tilt your head back and pucker your lips.

 

 

Hiss at the moon!

Hiss at the moon!
Tilt your head back and touch your bottom teeth to your top lip.

 

 

Make a double chin!  And don't take a picture of yourself doing this ;)

Double Chin!
Make a double chin!
And don’t take a picture of yourself doing this ;)

 

 

Hmph! Rotate!

Hmph! Rotate!
Look over your shoulder!

 

 

Deodorant?

Deodorant?
Turn head to the side, then look down towards your underarm.

 

 

Tilt!

Tilt!
Bring your ear towards your shoulder. You can gently increase the stretch with your hand.

 

 

Tilt side, tilt back!
Bring ear to shoulder, then tilt your head back.

 

 

Chest Stretches

T

T!
Open your arms as wide as you can!

 

 

Clasp and Roll!

Clasp and Roll!
Clasp your hands behind your back and roll your shoulders back.

 

 

Doorway!

Doorway!
Stand in a doorway. Place your elbow at a 90 degree angle on the doorjamb. Step forward with the same side. Turn your other shoulder back.

 

 

Arm position for "Doorway"

Arm position for “Doorway”

 

 

Doorway too!

Doorway too!
Stand in a doorway. Place your elbow on the doorjamb, around the height of your ear. Step forward with the same side. Turn your other shoulder back.

 

 

Arm position for "Doorway too"

Arm position for “Doorway too”

 

 

Child's pose. Palms down.

Child’s pose. Palms down.
Kneel on the floor. Bend at the waist. Place hands on the floor in front of you, palms down, keeping arms straight.

 

 

Child's pose. Gimme cash!

Child’s pose. Gimme cash!
Kneel on the floor. Bend at the waist and place hands on the floor in front of you, keeping arms straight. Turn palms up!

 

 

Hand Stretches

Flip the wrists!

Flip the wrists!
Bring your hands palms together in front of you, then flip them so they are back to back.

 

 

Press the thumb!

Press the thumb!
Bring your hands palms together in front of you, then flip them so they are back to back. Now take one hand and apply pressure at the base of the other hand’s thumb.

Hip Stretch

Knee press!

Knee press!
Sit. Cross your leg with your ankle on the knee of your other leg. Gently press on your top knee. Be sure to keep your back straight! Don’t hunch! Bend at the waist.

 

 

Stay tuned! You never know when I might add more favorites!

P.S. Just a little disclaimer.  I am not a certified yoga instructor or personal trainer. Please consult a physician before engaging in these activities. A yoga instructor will help you to perfect stretching techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neck Pain Management

It would be great if just getting massage would keep your neck pain away, but I’m not going to pretend that massage alone is some kind of magical cure.  Managing chronic pain of any kind takes diligence. As a sufferer of chronic neck pain, I’d like to tell you some of the things that I do to manage the pain. These are not prescriptions, just some ideas of things that you might try to help yourself at home between massage appointments (and I don’t get any compensation for any products I recommend).

Move EVERY day. If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ve heard it before. If you missed it, click here.

Stretch. Especially the chest muscles. If you’ve been to my office for neck pain, chances are good that I’ve shown you the doorway stretch. If not, give me a call, and we’ll arrange something! One of these years I will get some pictures or videos of some good stretches posted.

For those of you who might like to venture into yoga, but don’t want to take a class, I highly recommend DVDs by Sara Ivanhoe. Her technique is very gentle and she usually has modifications for all different levels.

Along with the stretches, consider doing some strengthening exercises for the upper back and neck. Ask your favorite personal trainer for specific suggestions.

Create a goal to REALLY focus on better posture. Find ways to remind yourself. Put a note by your computer! Ask a buddy to give you a little nudge when they see you slouching. And be patient with yourself…bad habits are hard to break, but you can do it!

Heat packs. Or alternating hot and cold packs. Great for circulation!

Press on the knots. Your body instictively knows where to press. There are tools for the hard to reach places.

Try various shapes and densities of balls…tennis, bouncy rubber balls, lacrosse balls. I recommend sticking the ball in a long sock and draping the sock over the shoulder to reach spots on the upper back. Then stand against a wall to apply the pressure.

You might like a Backnobber or a Theracane, if a ball is not your cup of tea.  If you’d like to see how it works, just ask next time you are at my office!

Remember: don’t press so hard that it’s a “bad” kind of hurt. Don’t bruise yourself. Be gentle. Whenever you have a kink in your shoulder, be sure to work gently on the spot a few times a day for about a minute at a time.

TENS machines. I don’t even think you need a prescription for these any more, and I believe the over-the-counter ones are reasonably priced. Be sure to ask your doctor or physical therapist how to use these units.

Traction machines. I think you probably have to go to a physical therapist to get one of these. All I know is that my physical therapist made it possible for me to get one paid for by my insurance company, so it never hurts to ask.

Last, but certainly not least…get yourself on a regular (at least monthly) massage schedule. You knew that was coming…it wouldn’t be a proper massage therapy site without a plug for regular massage, now would it?

Stretch and Strengthen

Just a little tip:

Did you know
that when you s t r e t c h one muscle,
that the muscles that perform the opposite action
are strengthened?
Just think about that for a minute and let it sink in.

Now, think about how that might help you in your health goals.

It is not within the scope of practice for a NYS Licensed Massage Therapist to recommend strengthening exercises, but that does not mean that we don’t want you to do them! So when your therapist recommends a certain stretch for you, keep in mind that part of our goal may be to strengthen the opposite (antagonist) muscle. We are striving for a healthy balance of the muscles.