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Neck and shoulder exercises

1) Range of movement stretch:- Sitting upright turn your head to the right as far as it will easily go, without pain. Hold it there, and then push a little further for a second or two, then release returning the head to the centre line. Repeat to the left and the same for dropping the head towards the left and then the right shoulder (called sidebending). 

Useful for:- Patients where the neck is generally stiff and in recovery from a sudden onset (acute) problem to restore full range.

2) Shoulder shrugs:- Sit upright with your hands in your lap and move the points of your shoulders in a circle going forwards then upwards towards the ears. Now backwards, to stretch the muscles at the front of the shoulders and now downwards and hold so the tops of your shoulders feel tight. Do this with both shoulders at the same time and the slower the better. Do this 3 or four times and then reverse the circle. You can do this anywhere. At your desk, at the traffic lights or whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.

Useful for:- Patients with poor posture at a desk , computer or when driving. It can help reduce stress and tension in the neck and shoulders.

3) Postural re-education:-  Sit as you normally do. Now imagine a point mid way between your shoulder blades in the middle of your back (usually at the point of maximum curve of your back). Bring this point forwards as if someone is pushing it with their hand. You should now feel more upright but nor 'tense' or 'wooden'. Hold this position whilst you are working, driving or sitting at home. You will fall away from it after a while but need to remind yourself to return to it as often as possible until it becomes natural.
Useful for:- Patients with a slumpy posture and poor workstation or driving position. If you have this your family and friends will probably have mentioned it!

The self help exercises presented here are offered as examples of what may of value to patients. Exercises are of most value when they are prescribed in relation to a specific diagnosis and as part of a treatment plan. The number of repetitions and the frequency with which they are carried out will be different for each patient. suggest that you should visit a properly qualified clinician before embarking on a exercises.

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