If you have babies or toddlers, you know what it means to have tightness in your upper back from being hunched over like Quasimodo all day. You are forever lifting them, feeding them, changing them and falling asleep exhausted in an armchair, all of which causes roundedness in your upper back - and if you are unlucky, you’ll also experience the associated shoulder/neck/back/arm pain that goes with it. Here is a routine of four things I recommend to relieve the pain and lose the ‘parental hunchback’ (hint: it’s even better to do after a super hot shower).
1. Back extension stretch. Fold a towel lengthways, roll it up and lie down with it under your shoulder blades (running across the shoulders not down the spine). For comfort, bend your knees with your feet on the floor, and put your hands behind your head for support. Allow gravity to stretch you back into shape for a minute or two. Relax and breathe deeply.
2. Chin tucks. Remove the towel and lie flat with your arms by your side, knees bent and feet flat on the floor (this will feel good already!). Actively tuck your chin down to your chest, like you are trying to flatten the back of your neck to touch the floor and pull the crown of your head to the wall behind you. Hold for eight to ten seconds and release, then repeat the contraction 4-5 times.
3. Massage your chest. Grab some moisturiser and use your right hand to find your left collar bone. Move directly below the bone and feel the soft tissue that runs from your sternum all the way along to the front side of your shoulder, and down about 5cms in a large rectangle. Using plenty of moisturiser, rub all through this area running from your midline to the shoulder, spending time on any points that are sore and feel good to massage. The do the same on your right side.
4. Back strengthening. Stand against a wall with your head, upper back, pelvis and feet touching it. Put your arms up as if you were being robbed and someone said ‘Stick ‘em up!’. With the backs of your elbows and wrists also touching the wall, slide your arms slowly up the wall to 45 degrees, hold and bring them back to the start position. Repeat 10 times per set for two sets, making sure your shoulder blades stay back and down.
If all these don't get you 100% pain relief, it's time to get the professionals involved. Don't make it worse for yourself by waiting - usually your massage therapist (I mean, me) can get you sorted in just a couple of sessions. Click below to book in now!