Body in Balance MN

Best Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork: injury treatment and prevention with relaxing massage for stress release


Stretches for stiff neck and shoulders

Posted by Katrina Koller on March 16, 2013 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Tightness in the side of the neck, back of the neck or between the shoulder blades results when the neck creeps forward and the shoulders become rounded.Below is a video demonstrating stretches for the chest and neck to counter pain and stress in the neck and shoulders due to forward head posture or "Upper Cross Syndrome" (poor posture, working at a desk or computer, reading, driving, talking on a cell phone, texting).

These stretches are generally safe for most chronic (gradual onset) conditions but if you are at all unsure, check with your Dr. before performing these stretches.  I recommend stretching for shorter intervals (holding for 3-5 seconds then relaxing for 3-5 seconds instead of holding for 30 seconds) than is recommended in the video, but do what feels best for you and remember, never stretch into pain!  If it hurts and you are unable to relax into the stretch, you have likely gone too far.

Good luck!

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Best Stretches for Upper Back Pain (Rounded Shoulders)

Posted by Katrina Koller on December 22, 2011 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Rounded shoulders can turn into pain in the upper back (ache between or around the shoulder blades) or pain in the front of the shoulder.  This is most commonly aggravated by the overabundance of activities we perform with our arms in front of us (everything from doing desk/computer work to cooking, cleaning, driving or doing dishes).  Add to this any repetitive movement at work or with fitness or sporting activities, and we end up with strong chest muscles and biceps and weak muscles that support our shoulder blade (scapula) in our upper backs. 

Here are my top two recommended stretches to help keep this common soft tissue imbalance in check. Note: if you are at all concerned about your ability to perform these stretches safely, then see your Dr., Physical Therapist or Chiropractor.  A great time to start a stretching regime is following a massage so that you can work with healthy pliable soft tissue.  Be gentle and refrain from holding a stretch for more than 2-3 seconds at a time and come out of the stretch and into a resting position each time in order not to trigger a stretch reflex.  Muscles prefer to ge gently coaxed rather than pushed. Do 10-12 repititions or fewer if you are stretching a particular muscle group for the first time.   Good luck! 

1) Pectoralis Minor and Major (chest muscle) stretch

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

2) Bicep Stretch (bicep tendon stretch) - This video below gives a nice explanation and demonstration, however, I would recommend holding for 2-3 second intervals (rest in between). 

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

#1 Stretch for Low Back Pain: Hip Flexor / Psoas Stretch

Posted by Katrina Koller on December 6, 2011 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The psoas muscle (hip flexor) is a common hidden cause of low back and hip pain that is often overlooked. It is common with back pain resulting from lengthy periods of sitting followed by or preceded by a sudden burst of vigorous exercise. Here is an excellent stretch and detailed explanation. Fast forward if you would like to skip the explanation.