Just stretching might not always be the answer.
Have you ever experienced that achy, burning sensation at the base of your neck and shoulders? Especially after spending hours sitting down, working on the computer, or completing your homework? Do you stretch those tight and stiff muscles to relieve some soreness? We bet it feels like heaven! But not long after returning back to work, that same annoying sensation creeps back again…
Want to break the cycle? DON’T STRETCH those tight and stiff muscles!
Ever since we can remember, we’ve been told to stretch objects that feel tight. Much like a hair elastic, our muscles have elastic properties. Think of:
- A short hair elastic that can hardly be pulled apart – short and restricted. IT’S TIGHT.
- A hair elastic that has been stretched right to the very end and held under tension – long and tense. IT’S ALSO TIGHT.
Over time, the hair elastic expands and loses its ability to return to its original length.
Similarly, our muscles can be short and restricted or eccentrically lengthened (lengthened under load). Often, while working, our shoulders tend to collapse into a rounded shape and our head into a forward head position. This puts our lower neck muscles, rhomboids, upper and middle trapezius in eccentrically lengthened positions, causing us to feel “tightness” after a prolonged period.
Surely, we don’t want to stretch, elongate and increase the load on them any further! Instead, we should activate these muscles to regain some contractility and bring them out of the eccentrically loaded positions.
Here are 5 exercises to help alleviate tightness and stiffness:
Banded Chin Tuck
Chest & shoulder opener stretch, hands clasped behind back
Prone Scapular Stabilization
Give the above a try when you are feeling stiff and tight, and you might feel better after! Our professionals at UFIT Clinic will be able to help you assess any issues you might have and provide a rehabilitation program to help you if you are constantly feeling tight and stiff.