Saturday, October 8, 2011

Forearm Stretch

Many of you work at computers all day long, only to go home and work on them all night too.  Excessive keyboarding can cause discomfort in the hands and forearms.  Many of the muscles that control finger movements are located in your forearms, so stretching out the forearms is a great thing to do during your busy work day.

Start by extending your right arm out in front of you with palm facing down.  Using your other hand, hold your right hand just below the wrist and gently pull it down so that your hand is pointing down toward the floor.  You should feel a gentle stretch only.  Hold for 20 seconds (or longer if you like)

Next turn your outstretched arm with palm facing up, and this time, using your other hand, hold across your right fingers, pulling them down so they point to the floor.  Again, keep the stretch gentle and comfortable, holding for 20 seconds.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Self Help for Neck Pain and Stiffness

Have you ever woken up and not been able to turn your head?  If this has happened to you, you know how uncomfortable this can be.

Sometimes it is painful, and sometimes it isn’t.  Sometimes you have an idea what might have caused it, like sitting at a table with your head turned to the right or left for two hours chatting with someone at your side.  Or maybe it started the morning after you were hit in the side of the head with a football.  But sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be any logical reason whatsoever.

No matter what the cause, it can be quite distressing to be unable to turn your head one way or the other.  Many cases of neck crick clear up on their own, within a few days or weeks, but sometimes, like anything in the body, things don’t go quite the way you planned.

So what can you do if your neck is painful and/or immobile?  Start with good old heat.  Any kind of heat will do, hot shower, hot pack, sauna, hot tub, even some warming liniment can help relax tight muscles and trigger points around the area.

Next do some self-massage.  Gently work the tight areas with your fingers, working up the back of the neck in the groove between the spinous processes in the back of your neck and the transverse processes in line with your ears.  Stop and hold some pressure on any big lumps in the muscles you feel. 

Using finger tips, gently run over the sides of your neck, working down in little 1 inch sections.  Then, using a pink pearl eraser, or fingers, work the ridge along the base of your skull, frictioning side to side in small sections, again holding on any tight, tender spots.

It is a great idea to mobilize your neck in pain free range after loosening it.  Try doing shoulder checks side to side, repeating a minimum of ten times each side.  Then drop ear to shoulder, alternating side to side, again minimum ten times each side.

Lastly, try to keep your neck warm for a few days.  Wear a hoodie or scarf outside, be cautious of sleeping by an open window, as cool breezes at night can often flare neck tension, and possibly be the cause of it in the first place!

With these few simple techniques you can help decrease down time and get back to normal neck function!