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3 ways to stop your pain in the neck — and back

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Looking down at your keyboard, cell phone, iPad and the like causes poor posture. Shoulders round forward, the head falls forward and the stress that puts on your neck, shoulders and upper back set you up for some real pain.

In today’s video Dr. Brett Cardonick shares with you three quick exercises that will help you re-balance your upper body and relieve the strain and pain. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you.

1) Maintain a tight core

Because we have poor posture when seated and also anytime we’re looking down at devices, we begin to naturally maintain a forward head and rounded shoulder posture. This needs to be corrected so that when standing and walking we assume proper posture to alleviate the strain.

Holding a firm core will do the trick. When you bring those stomach muscles in and tighten them up, without holding your breath that lifts everything up and helps to keep that head up. Ideally you want your ears over your shoulders, and the shoulders down and back not hunched forward.

2) Backward arm circles

Much of what we do in our lives these days causes a forward tilt to our upper body: texting, slouching, typing, reading, talking on the phone, working on computers. So we want to retrain our body by doing things that go the opposite of that.

Stand up straight, hold your arm up at shoulder height and outstretched to their respective sites. Hold your palms up and make backward arm circles. Do five or 10 of these several times per day. They don’t have to be big or fast, but the more you do them the more you will open up your upper body and help prevent rounded shoulders and the forward head position.

These are easy to implement. Every time you take a pause from typing on a computer or device, do a couple backward arm circles. You want to retrain your body to be aware of the feeling of the bad posture of rounded shoulders and forward leaning head, and feel again the posture perfect feeling of an upright head and body you feel after doing backward arm circles. This will stretch the muscles in the chest and strengthen and tighten the muscles in the upper back.

3) Elbow wall press

This simple exercise will help strengthen the upper back and shoulders. Stand with your back against the wall. Bring your elbows up to shoulder height with arm bent at a 90-degree forward angle, palms facing down. Keep your neck and upper body relaxed and push your elbows into the wall with a little bit of force so that you feel muscle contraction between your shoulders. It is important to keep your neck relaxed when you do this.

Hold the backward push for 10 seconds and then relax down your arms. Repeat this exercise 10 times. Do two sets of 10 reps once per day.

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