Exercises For Healthy Back And Neck

Most of us spend a large portion of our lives in front of a computer, phone, or TV.

Our posture is often poor, and our muscles overuse, putting us at risk for muscle strains, tendonitis, arthritis, and much more.

As we age, our spines begin to settle and our necks stiffen. Let's discuss how to reverse these things.

Don't sit or stand with your back forward

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Many of us naturally place our backs slightly forward, though many times it's by accident.

If you do sit and your spine is slightly forward, it can cause bad pain or stiffness.

The body isn't meant to do that. Keep your spine as straight as possible by keeping your hips down and your knees together.

On the other hand, if your spine is straight but your hips are up, you'll feel a lot of pressure in your back, with a large arch at the top of your lower back.

This causes a lot of back and neck pain.

Now, if you're standing with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, keep your hips still and your back and neck in a neutral position.

This is best done by standing as much as you can in a tall position. That's the best place for your spine to be.

That way, the arch of your lower back doesn't put too much stress on your back and neck.

Stretches for the back

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Now, it's time to learn some stretches for back and neck health.

I can't stress how important stretching is to maintain good posture and to reducing tension in the neck and back.

Check these out:

Stretching your neck

There are two ways to stretch your neck:

For small and mid-sized necks, lie on your back and lift your chin off of the bed. Don't bend your neck forward.

Inhale and lift your chin. Exhale and lower your chin. Repeat 10 times.

For medium and large necks, lying on your back, move your arms, neck, shoulders, and head around. Don't twist.

Inhale and lift your chin. Exhale and lower your chin. Repeat 10 times.

For wide-necked necks, lying on your back, lift your chin and push your head up. Bend your arms at the elbow, and push your head up.

Inhale and lift your chin. Exhale and lower your chin. Repeat 10 times.

For flat-chested necks, lying on your back, bend your arms, and place your head between your arms, lifting your head off of the bed. Don't let your chin come off of the bed.

Inhale and lift your chin. Exhale and lower your chin. Repeat 10 times.

There are also a few easy stretches for your back, which you can do without putting too much pressure on your back.

For the back and neck, you want to gently stretch all of the muscles:

Abdominal stretch

Lie on your back. Take your arms and pull your belly button toward your spine.

Now take your arms and pull your belly button toward your knees. Exhale and stretch your back as far as you can.

Hold this for 10 seconds. Then slowly breathe out.

Backstretch

Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place them under your hips.

Place your elbows on the floor, directly below your shoulders.

Bend your arms, until your thumbs touch your ears, and lower your hands so they touch the floor.

Your fingers should be parallel to the floor. Slowly and gently pull your hips up to straighten your spine.

Exhale and slowly pull your hips back down.

Neck stretch

Lie on your back, with your head near your arms. Straighten your arms so your palms are flat on the floor.

Bend your elbows, so that your arms are parallel to the floor. Lift your chin. Exhale and stretch your head back.

And finally, you can also get stretches for your shoulders:

Shoulder flexion

Lie on your back, with your arms out in front of you. Lift your arms to the ceiling.

Slowly and gently bend your elbows and raise your arms, in a U shape.

Repeat 10 times.

Shoulder extension

Lie on your back, with your arms out in front of you. Lift your arms to the ceiling.

Slowly and gently extend your arms, in a Y shape.

Repeat 10 times.

Relaxation

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Here's a relaxation exercise that can help keep your back in good shape and your neck pain at bay. Try to do this a few times a day.

Sit upright and place one hand on the floor and gently rest your forehead on the floor.

Place the other hand behind your head. Place the other hand on your belly.

Relax and bring your forehead to your hand. Exhale and slowly stretch your neck and relax your spine.

Roll over, so your face is toward your hand. Raise your hips off of the floor, so that you can rollover.

Pull your belly button in and slowly reach around the sides of your body with the hand that was on your back.

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