Anfter 2 years working from home your neck and upper back are hurting your. You place your laptop among some books on the table in the kitchen and do some yoga and pray that it will be a success but you’re stiff and sore.

What is the reason for this?

A lot of the tasks that are a part of the modern lifestyle appear like they were created to cause bad posture. The motion of turning forward on a steering wheel, desk or even a phone can stretch the muscles of your neck and your upper back while also tightening the chest. The thoracic spinal column, which extends from the base of your ribcage, the neck’s level naturally is curved forward. That forward curve could turn into an unnatural hum when you work for a long time in a hunched posture.

I’m an instructor at a Pilates instructor, and although every body is unique from what I’ve seen in my patients over time I’m aware that the secret to “un-desking” in your neck or back is to tighten what’s too loose, and stretch the muscles that are too tight. Here are my three favorite exercises that will help ease this upper back discomfort.

1. Foam roller arm circles

This is an excellent exercise to stretch tight chest muscles and releasing stiff shoulders. I love doing this before starting an exercise, but it’s also an excellent cool-down.

  1. Lay on a roller that has all of your spine (from at the peak of your skull all the way down your spine to your tailbone) held, and then place your feet bones away.
  2. Pull your navel toward your spine and extend your arms towards the ceiling. Relax your ribcage into the foam roller, then extend you arms to as much back as you can, without your rib cage fluttering.
  3. Begin to circle your arms until they reach your hips and then back towards the ceiling.
  4. Repeat the process three or five times per direction.

Modification:Hold one- to three-pounds of weights to increase the stretch.

2. Baby cobra

The purpose of this exercise isn’t to create shapes that look like a certain way, but rather to strengthen the upper back and allow your thoracic spine the needed length. Be aware of how this feels and don’t be concerned about how far from the floor you could get.

  1. Relax on your stomach, and then layer your hands, one on top of the other , tucked under your forehead. Place your head in your hands. Imagine you’re feeling that your back of your neck growing longer. If you’re into metaphors, try imagining you’re a kitten being taken up by the scratch of their neck.
  2. Take your head, hands, and chest off the mat, and then hold them for a few seconds. lower your shoulders towards your ears and then lower them back towards the mat.
  3. Five times. Repeat the process five more times.

Modifications:If you’re feeling a lots stress in your neck after this exercise, keep your forearms and hands on the mat , and then raising your shoulders and head up. If you own a smaller exercise ball, put it in the middle of your sternum to allow for greater range of movement.

3. Chest expansion

This Pilates exercise will stretch your chest while strengthening the muscles of your back, upper back and shoulder. It can be done with Pilates equipment, weights of a small size and a resistance band or even no equipment however, I believe an easy resistance band is an ideal starting point.

  1. Begin by kneeling on mat.
  2. The band should be held using your hands approximately 6 inches from each other at the level of your shoulders. Pull the band until your hands are about a foot from your shoulders than they are and you feel movement of the muscles between your shoulders.
  3. Keep the tension of the band as you move your arms towards your hips. You can imagine the collar bone is growing bigger.
  4. By securing your hands to your hips while keeping your chest wide take a look at the right shoulder. and then across your left shoulder and then lift your arms back to shoulder level.
  5. Repeat the procedure six or eight times.

Modification:If you have sensitive knees, you can perform the exercise standing upright.

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