We all have days with hours spent sitting in a plane or at a desk, or lugging heavy bags on our shoulders. Instances like these can lead to days of back or neck pain. There are a few tricks your physical therapist may teach you to help avoid back pain and stiffness.
Use a lacrosse ball as a massager. If you have some tight knots in your back, using a lacrosse ball can help work them out. Stand with your back to a wall and place the lacrosse ball between your back and the wall in the area where you feel pain or stiffness. Press your back to the wall with the lacrosse ball between you and the wall and slowly slide your back across the wall up and down or side to side. When you find the knot in your back you’ll feel the ball working out the tension in your muscles. Doing this for about ten minutes could really loosen up your back.
Chin tucks. If you need to sit all day and don’t have the option of getting up often, chin tucks are a useful exercise to avoid neck strain. Simply lower your head until your chin is at a 45 degree angle to your body, make sure you’re sitting up straight, then pull your head back, bringing your chin closer to your neck. It’s a discreet stretch that will keep your neck in good position.
The hurricane stretch. Long periods of sitting or carrying heavy objects can also wreak havoc on your mid back. Clasp your hands together and hold them out in front of you. Tuck you head between your arms and stretch your clasped arms out as far as possible. You’ll feel the stretch from your neck to mid back.
Lumbar support. If you have to sit in an uncomfortable chair then use a small water bottle or scarf to give yourself lumbar support. Place a cylindrical object about five inches above your tailbone and feel instant relief.
Use a heating pad. Using heat on and off for 15 minutes could be a simple way to relieve some tension in a stiff back or neck when you can’t make it to physical therapy or you have to stay seated for a while.
At NY Bone & Joint Specialists, Dr. Michael Mizhiritsky, specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, is an expert in the treatment of back and neck conditions, as well as nerve conditions that may be the cause of back or neck pain. NYBJ also has Pain Management specialists and are always striving to make sure you are in the best possible health.