With many Americans suffering from neck and back pain daily, what exercises can one do to find relief? Check out these exercises to begin your road to pain-relief.
The root cause for the majority of neck and upper back pain comes from Forward Head Posture (FHP). FHP is insidious, because it’s everywhere in modern life, and it slowly but steadily has a devastating effect on your health. Fortunately, the solutions aren’t expensive — they simply require awareness and practice. In addition to the passive stretches and postures listed here, the exercises described below are ideal ways to reform FHP and to develop other aspects of your health like strength, mobility and cardiovascular health.
The rower is a phenomenal yet totally overlooked piece of cardio equipment. Rowing is a full body workout that trains your core, legs, shoulders and back. Done with proper form, you will not only get the sweaty cardio fix you’re looking for but also better strength and posture. So get off the treadmill and spin bike (which tend to leave folks looking like hunchbacks) and start rowing yourself into perfect posture!
The dumbbell row is a time-honored weight training exercise that challenges your core, shoulder and upper back. It strengthens and contracts the muscles of the upper back that are chronically overstretched by FHP and counteracts the chronic contraction of the chest. If you are alive, you should be doing this.
Standing Wall Press
This corrective exercise is awesome because it both strengthens your muscles of posture and re-calibrates your sense of being upright. The first few times you do this, it may feel really weird, as if you were pushing too far back or would fall over without the wall. This is because your nervous system is so used to being in a forward head posture that it thinks the vertical wall must be wrong. Do this exercise frequently and you will counter FHP quickly.
Prone Back Extension
The prone extension is the opposite of a sit up, yet it is still a great core exercise and back muscle strengthener (it firms up your butt to boot!). This exercise can be practiced for multiple reps for short moments of contraction or for only a few reps with longer periods of contraction (30 seconds to a minute). Don’t forget to breathe!
Wheel pose is not for everyone, but if you are fit and mobile enough to practice it, it’s a great tool for countering FHP. It’s also the opposite shape of what most people curl into after hours sitting in offices and cars – making it an ideal technique for re-patterning your posture.