Do you suffer from tight, neck shoulders or upper back? Throughout this article, I’ll share the best stretches for tight shoulders, how to improve shoulder mobility, as well as mobilising the chest, upper back and thoracic spine too.
Shoulder pain it’s the 3rd most common musculoskeletal pain that gets reported. It’s often chronic in nature, meaning that people just learn to live with it, it’s often hard to pinpoint the exact causes and also difficult to treat.
Shoulder, neck and back pain can be debilitating, it can affect your sleep, your work life and prevent you from being able to exercise the way that you want to. Even if you are not experiencing chronic pain yet, maintaining good function of this joint is a good preventative measure against future aches and pains.
Our daily routines consist of the average desk worker hunching over a computer screen for long periods of time which is contributing to this high number of shoulder complaints. The constant rounding forward causes elongation of the back muscles and shortening and tightening of the chest/ pec muscles and rounding shoulders. The result is tight and stiff shoulders that don’t function as well as they should, causing stiffness in the upper back area and can open you up to an increased risk of injury.
Couple the tight shoulders with the elongation of the muscles that run down the back of the neck caused by too much time spent looking down at our phones and it’s easy to see why our posture seems to be getting worse and worse. Our modern-day habits around technology are changing the mechanics of human posture, and not for the better as we get weak muscles and less range of motion at the joint.
The shoulder joint is a complex joint and is the most mobile joint in the body. It’s involved with a wide range of movements from pushing, pulling, and rotating. It also is supportive of the movement of the scapula in the back (shoulder blades). Because of the range of mobility of this joint and the fact most people use their arms for everyday activities on a daily basis and with poor posture, it’s easy to see why shoulder tightness, shoulder pain and neck pain are so common.
I have been doing lots of work on my computer and my desk is not really at the right height and so I have been really feeling the tightness and tension in my own shoulders and so the sequence below has been a godsend.
The good news is that with effective shoulder stretches and mobility work on the shoulders and the surrounding areas, when added into our exercise routine can counteract the negative effects on posture and support positive joint integrity. It goes without saying that this type of work should never replace the advice of a physical therapist, and why its a good idea to get professional medical advice if you are experiencing prolonged pain.
Alongside any professional advice the simple and short additions of mobility work that are to follow can help relieve shoulder, back and neck pain. We want to work on keeping the joint mobile as well as having a balanced upper body strength training to also keep the joint stable and strong.
Improving posture will help reduce pain and stiffness, but it can also have a huge impact on how you feel within yourself. If you want to show up as your best most confident self, just rolling your shoulders back, lifting up your chest and standing up tall feels damn empowering.
Be mindful of your posture throughout the day, when sitting, walking and I will always remind my clients during workouts to have a posture check as a solid foundation for posture will help you perform workouts and daily life more effectively and also safely so you can keep those pesky injuries at bay.
This upper body mobility routine is short and can be performed easily from home with no equipment required. Though a session like this could also be complimented with the addition of some foam rolling work. Though it can often be a little painful, foam rolling and facia release is something I highly recommend.
This Blackroll set is awesome and contains all of my favourite facia release tools. I may do a facia release video, so if that is something you would like to see next be sure to let me know.
Rather than providing a stretching program that performs only static stretches, I prefer to use dynamic stretches and mobility exercises that are performed slowly, mindfully and with control that can easily be added to your daily routine after a long day. This is the best way I have found to integrate mobility work that doesn’t have to take up a ton of time.
These simple movements are effective in helping to release muscle tension, including neck stretches, aiming to improve shoulder health and relieve achy shoulders. Not only will you experience a good stretch but there is also a good chance that you will experience a release from chronic stress that is also felt in the shoulders and contributes to shoulder problems.
I really hope you will feel an immense benefit from this gentle stretch work, so grab your mat perform a few shoulder rolls and lets get to it. Be sure to let me know in the comments how you found this session and if you would like to get more of these type of workouts.
I hope you found this useful, if you did be sure to share it with your friends. It really helps me to be able to reach and help more people.
You may also enjoy these mobility sessions too.
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