Exercises to strengthen neck and back muscles

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Did you know your head weighs about six to eight kilos? At our recent Retirement Bootcamp Physio Jason Lee explained how to strengthen the muscles in your neck and back that support this weight day in, day out. Why not watch the video and try the exercises for yourself?

Jason Lee is a graduate of the University of Melbourne. He enjoys treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions and has developed an interest in spinal pain and headaches. He is a hands-on physio who utilises manual therapy, soft tissue therapy and dry needling. He is also a strong advocate for exercise therapy and runs Strength Training classes and Clinical Pilates. Outside of work Jason enjoys keeping active and is a keen surfer and basketballer.

Malvern East Physio

As Jason mentions in the video, these exercises should not be painful. If any pain occurs stop immediately and contact a healthcare professional. 

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Who here gets pains up through the neck region and the shoulder region every now and again? Yeah a few of us?

These big muscles, are known as the upper trapezius or laveta scapula. What basically happens is, that if those small muscles can’t keep holding your head up, which weighs six to eight kilograms, your heads of course not going to topple off, but your brain’s going to try and get these big muscles to contract and hold those six to eight kilograms up.

Now unfortunately these muscles are only ‘fast twitch muscle fibres’, they’re designed to contract and relax. So after a while they get pretty tired and they get pretty achy which is what gives you that dull ache all the time.

So the next two stretches are fantastic stretches that we can do to try and loosen them up and keep them nice and mobile, nice and supple.

So all of us, whether we want to be sitting or standing, we’re going to drop our right ears to our right shoulders as far as you can. 

Now remember, as I said before really importantly, none of this should be painful.

We’re going to hold this stretch gently for fifteen seconds, and I did start counting when I said before, so we’re going to hold for about two or three more seconds and relax.

Lets try the same thing on the other side, this time the left ear to the left shoulder and just gently pulling across.

Same thing, we’re just going to try and hold this for fifteen seconds. So with both of these exercises, whether we’re holding for fifteen seconds or whether we’re pulling across, we’re going to try and – just relax for me – repeat this four to five times a day.

So our mission tonight, we’ve just done one of them, so before we go to sleep tonight we’ve just got four more lots to go for the day.

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