Shoulder and Neck
Shoulder pain? Neck pain? The process of healing one is often connected to the other. This series shows you how to regain comfort and pain relief while learning how to better align your head, neck and shoulders with your spine.
I. INTRODUCTION TO SHOULDER NECK ALIGNMENT
Here we will address the shoulders and neck together because they greatly influence each other from a movement perspective.
It’s also the reason a lot of problems occur in these two areas. When we help the neck we help the shoulder and vice versa. In these tech times when we use our hands to type and text and NOT to carry things on our head or shoulders as we once did when life was more physically demanding.? When we don’t have to physically carry out many manual labor tasks we use our upper bodies much less, so it’s difficult to stay upright because when you don’t use it, as we know, you lose it!
The Balance Postures in these videos help us relearn and get reconnected to how it feels for the head and shoulders to naturally work day in and day out.
Let’s get rid off the “old man posture” and regain our natural awareness and alignment so we can notice and feel when our heads and necks begin to move away from their natural comfortable places.
The Set Up:
You will begin to learn where your BASE (hips) need to be placed so your shoulders and neck will be immediately free from some tension and tightness. ALWAYS start with the ‘set up’ of the base/hips.
Now if these postures feel “weird” that’s normal. You are removing the body posture your brain is used to so look in a mirror and check to see it’s more normal looking than it feels.
Stop, reflect and relax into this new way of sitting. Take a breath and give your body the chance to “check in and let go” so the brain can rewrite this new way of sitting.
This will move you into the next video of regaining your shoulder range of motion. So let’s get those arms over your head in a way the really stretches and strengthens your upper back. Pay attention to detail!
You are creating a new “connection” between your shoulders, neck and head when you go through the Turtle Neck exercise. This returns normal movement patterns and can be done while you’re sitting at your desk during the day. The more you practice, the faster the brain and body will remember this new posture. Remember: at the end, stop and reflect how this new posture feels.
II. MOVING ARMS OVERHEAD
In this Balance Posture exercise you learn how to gain strength and range of motion in the shoulders by simply lifting the arms correctly. Feel free to do this at a wall or in front of the mirror a few times a day to gain freedom and comfort in your shoulders.
III. RANGE OF MOTION EXERCISES TO HEAL PAINFUL SHOULDERS
Doing this exercise on the table or your bed can help eliminate compensations that could occur when doing this exercise in the standing posture. The person in the video is gaining shoulder stability as well as range of motion without pain. Be careful on how the movement is done, the devil’s in the details! Do about 10 repetitions or more each day, as you feel no pain doing the movement and can maintain the correct posture.
IV. FIRST STEPS TO NECK COMFORT
Where do your head and neck belong? This next neck exercise will help you feel for how your head is designed to sit on your shoulders and spine.
This is a small movement but very important for gaining strength and awareness. This is a great “do at work “ movement you can do throughout the day. Don’t be surprised if you’re sore at the end of the day with this small but powerful exercise.
V. & VI. SHOULDER OPENER AND TURTLE NECK (Part I and II)
You are creating a new “connection” between your shoulders, neck and head when you go through the Turtle Neck exercise.
This exercise is a game changer! It works muscles deep in your upper back to free the tightness in your neck and shoulders. You also begin to gain a new alignment with your upper body.
Pay attention to the details and go SLOW! You can do this exercise two to three times a day. At each sitting do it twice. Don’t be surprised if you are sore the next day!
This movement helps you regain normal postural patterns of the head, neck and shoulders. The more you practice, the faster the brain and body will remember this new posture. Remember: at the end, stop and reflect how your body feels.
VII. SUPPORTING NECK AND SHOULDERS ON THE FLOOR
VIII. RECLINE IS DEVINE
I like to call these postures Doing Nothing Well: These are more passive postures. BUT don’t doubt the power of gravity. Passive is powerful and you are letting the body be in a new posture that releases a lot of tension. It will change your body if you give it a chance to “let go” into the floor (or bed) and into the chair. I cannot emphasize this enough: TAKE YOUR TIME (10-20 min.) or whatever amount of time feels good to you to hang out like this. Meditate, breathe or just be. But give it a chance.
IX. NECK ROTATION EXERCISES
Take this exercise slow and focus on the details. It’s good for you to do this after all of the other exercises in the video series because you will have greater success and feel for the movement. This also can be done a few times a day at the office or at home. Do the movement two to three times on each side. Do not do it if it creates any pain!
X. COMBINATION MOVEMENT OF HIPS, SPINE, NECK AND SHOULDERS
This Balance Posture exercise will help you reconnect your shoulders and neck to the lower body. You cannot heal the shoulders and neck without connecting it well to the base of the body. We will start from the bottom and work up with this movement. Be prepared to get a good stretch in the hips and hamstrings. Do the movement two to three times every day and you will feel stronger in the back and looser in the hamstrings.
XI. BUTT UP THE WALL
This Balance Posture is a must for everyone to become more centered over the hips and strengthen the back, buttock and legs. It may surprise you how much this move will help your neck and shoulders. Remember when the hips are stronger and more centered the upper body follows along.
Do at least three times a day!
XII. CARRYING A LOAD ON BONES
Learning to carry things on our shoulders and back will greatly eliminate problems with the upper spine. Once you begin to do this with things like your laundry, dog food or fertilizer you will see how little stress it creates on the spine. REMEMBER to lift the object to your shoulder use the Butt Up The Wall technique! Have fun!