6 Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Runners

6 Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Runners

Do you ever feel like your entire body could use a little tune-up after those long runs?

Enter the sports chiropractor!

These chiropractic medicine experts are all about ensuring every part of you is running (pun intended) at its best. From head to toe, they’ve got the magic touch to keep you in tip-top shape.

Let’s dive into how chiropractors do it and why every runner should consider paying them a visit!

Key Takeaways

  • Many runners are vulnerable to various injuries, from Runner’s knee to Iliotibial Band Syndrome.
  • Chiropractors have a wide range of treatments available to mitigate running injuries and restore proper muscle function.
  • Chiropractic treatment helps increase your range of motion and prevent future injuries.

6 Most Common Running Injuries

6 Most Common Running Injuries

ACL Injuries

Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) connects the top and bottom parts of your leg. It plays an essential role in your knee movement and stability.

Now, how do people hurt their ACL? While you might think of it as a running injury, it’s more common in sports where there’s a lot of quick stopping and starting, jumping, or changing directions, like basketball or soccer.

But runners aren’t off the hook. A wrong step, a sudden twist, or even a collision can give your ACL a hard time.

Deep Muscle Adhesions

The term “deep muscle adhesions” refers to different tissues and muscle groups getting stuck together. It’s like when two pieces of wet paper cling to each other.

Say you trip and take a little tumble after a long, exhausting run. Or you push yourself to the limit during a race. Your muscles may suffer tiny injuries, like micro-tears. As they heal, scar tissue forms, creating these sticky spots or adhesions.

Muscle adhesions limit your muscle’s ability to stretch and move freely. It’s like having a knot in a rubber band; that part doesn’t extend as well.

Hamstring Pain

Runner with leg pain

Your hamstrings are the big muscles at the back of your thigh. If you push them too hard or don’t warm up properly, they can get strained or even torn.

Hamstring injuries are a real bummer for runners. Imagine you’re out on a run and feel a sharp pain or a sudden pull at the back of your thigh. That’s your hamstring telling you, “Something’s not right!”

There are a few ways these injuries can occur:

  • You don’t warm up properly before hitting the track.
  • You try sprinting too fast without building up to it.
  • Your hamstrings are tired and overworked.

Hip Snapping

“Hip snapping” refers to that weird sound or feeling from your hip when moving it.

The condition occurs when a muscle or tendon slides over a bony part of your hip, leading to a snapping, popping, or clicking sensation. It’s not always painful, but it may feel odd.

A few symptoms point to hip snapping:

  • Tight or overworked muscles around the hip.
  • You’ve been running a lot, and those muscles are fatigued.
  • You’ve been repeating the same movement, causing extra wear and tear in the hip area.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

This fancy name is for a common injury, especially among long-distance runners.

The iliotibial (IT) band is this long, stretchy band that runs down the outside of your thigh, from your hip to your knee. It’s not a muscle, but it bears the brunt when running, hiking, or taking a quick walk.

If you run a lot, the IT band may get tight or rub against your knee bone, causing pain and discomfort.

There are a few suspects behind this condition:

  • Running on the same side of the road—which is often slanted—can be a culprit.
  • If your shoes are worn out or don’t fit right, they could throw your stride off balance.
  • Even how your body naturally moves (for example, if your feet turn inwards when you run) adds stress to the IT band.

Runner’s Knee

Runner's Knee

Runner’s knee—or patellofemoral pain syndrome—describes the pain you feel around or behind your kneecap.

When you run, there’s a lot of pressure between your kneecap and the rest of your leg. Sometimes, if things aren’t aligned right, or there’s too much stress, it can cause knee pain.

Think of it as a door hinge that’s a little off. If it doesn’t align perfectly, the door might squeak or be hard to open. In the same way, if your knee isn’t moving just right, it might “complain” with some pain.

There are a few reasons why someone might get runner’s knee:

  • Your shoes aren’t supporting your feet properly.
  • Your leg muscles aren’t equally strong, so one side works harder than the other.
  • Even the way you run can make a difference. If you’re pounding the pavement super hard with every step, it can put more stress on your knees.

How Does Chiropractic Care Address Running Injuries?

how does chiropractic care address running injuries

Picture a chiropractor as a master mechanic for the human body, especially for the muscles, joints, and spine. They have a toolbox full of techniques to help your whole body feel its best and get you back on track in no time:

Active Release Technique (ART)

Active Release Technique (ART) is like a deep tissue massage’s cool cousin. The chiropractor uses their hands to find and treat tight muscles and other soft tissues. By pressing and moving in specific ways, they release tension and help the muscle move smoothly again. ART is great for runners because tight muscles mess with their running and can lead to injuries.

Chiropractic Adjustments

During a routine chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor uses their hands to gently move and adjust the spine and other joints. These adjustments help ensure everything’s in place so you move properly when running.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Electrical muscle stimulation is an excellent way to help tight muscle tissue relax. Chiropractors place small pads on the skin that give off tiny electrical pulses. These pulses make the muscle tissue contract and relax quickly, reducing pain and tightness.

Functional Dry Needling

Functional dry needling involves inserting very thin needles into tight muscle tissue to help it relax. It’s like hitting the reset button on a muscle working overtime.

Graston Technique

When employing the Graston technique, chiropractors use special tools to scrape and rub the skin over sore spots. This approach helps break up scar tissue and increases blood flow to the injured area, allowing it to heal faster.

Chiropractic care offers many techniques to help runners heal, feel better, and stay injury-free. If you’re a runner dealing with aches and pains, it might just be time to give it a shot!

6 Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment for Runners

benefits of chiropractic treatment for runners

  • Increased Range of Motion: You know that stiff feeling when you can’t quite stretch your leg all the way? Chiropractic care can help by working on those tight areas and making it easier for your legs to move. More motion equals more efficient running.
  • Injury Healing: Injuries happen, and they’re a real bummer. But, with the proper care, you can get back on track sooner than you might think. Chiropractors have various techniques up their sleeves to help speed up the healing process.
  • Injury Prevention: Even better than healing an injury? Not getting one in the first place! Chiropractic care keeps those annoying injuries away by ensuring your body is properly aligned and moving correctly.
  • Muscle Relaxation: Chiropractors help those tired muscles chill out, making it easier to get back out there for your next run without feeling like a rusty robot.
  • Decreased Healing Time: Nobody likes to be sidelined for long. With chiropractic care, your body can bounce back quicker from injuries or soreness. That means less time on the couch and more time hitting the pavement.
  • Joint Mobility: Your joints are like the hinges on a door. They need to move smoothly for everything to work right. Chiropractors ensure your joints are moving freely so you’re not feeling any unnecessary aches or pains.

Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned marathoner, chiropractic care offers a handful of benefits that will make your runs feel smoother, keep injuries at bay, and even speed up your recovery time. Next time you’re lacing up those running shoes, think of all the ways a chiropractor can have your back!

Get Back on the Running Track With Dr. Doerr’s Help!

At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, under the leadership of Dr. Gregory Doerr, adheres to the highest medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care in a comfortable, healing atmosphere.

Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic care services! Our offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve the areas of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD. Also, access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatment for running injuries!

References

  1. “3 Key Ways Runners Can Benefit from Chiropractic Care.” Life Enhancement Chiropractic, www.lifeenhancementwellness.com/blog/117783-3-key-ways-runners-can-benefit-from-chiropractic-care. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  2. “8 Reasons Runners Should Seek Care from Chiropractors.” 8 Reasons Runners Should Seek Care From Chiropractors: Elite Spine and Health Center: Chiropractic, www.elitespinehouston.com/blog/8-reasons-runners-should-seek-care-from-chiropractors. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  3. Austin, Dr. Amanda B. “Why Runners Need a Chiropractor .” Tri State Clinic North Chiropractic of Chattanooga, tristateclinic.com/2019/09/18/why-runners-need-a-chiropractor/. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  4. “How Chiropractic Care Helps Runners.” Excel Chiropractic, www.excelatl.com/how-chiropractic-care-helps-runners. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  5. “NYC Chiropractic for Runners: Manhattan Sport Injuries Pain Treatment.” Manhattan Sports Therapy, Manhattan Sports Therapy, 31 Aug. 2020, www.manhattansportstherapy.com/blog/chiropractic-for-runners/. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  6. “Why Seeing a Chiropractor Helps with Running Pain.” Progressive Chiropractic, 23 Oct. 2019, drmarkscanlon.com/chiropractor-for-running-pain/. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
  7. Wilson, Peter. “The Top 5 Reasons to Get Chiropractic Care as a Runner – Ultra Chiropractic Seattle.” Ultra Chiropractic, Ultra Chiropractic, 30 May 2023, www.ultrachiropractic.com/blog/5-reasons-chiropractic-care-for-runners. Accessed 20 Sept. 2023.
Game Changers: Treating the 15 Most Common Sports Injuries

Game Changers: Treating the 15 Most Common Sports Injuries

Ever been sidelined with an annoying injury when you’re just starting to hit your stride? 

Yep, it’s the worst. 

But, worry not, because when sports injuries strike, experts like Dr. Doerr from Bergen Chiropractic have got your back … and your knees, and your shoulders! With extensive knowledge of sports-related injuries and a comprehensive arsenal of treatment techniques, Dr. Doerr is just the person you need to get you off the bench and back in the game.

So, stick around as we dive deeper into some of the most common sports injuries, their causes, symptoms, and most importantly, how sports chiropractors come to the rescue!

 

Am I Susceptible to a Sports Injury?

Anybody is susceptible to a sports injury, whether you’re a pro athlete, a weekend warrior, or just someone trying out a new physical activity. Certain risk factors increase your predisposition to both minor and more serious injuries, including:

  • Activity Type: High-intensity sports like football, basketball, or rugby often come with a higher risk of injury. But even lower-impact activities like jogging or swimming can lead to acute injuries.
  • Training and Preparation: Skipping warm-ups or cool-downs, not using proper gear, or not following good form or technique can all put you in the injury zone.
  • Fitness Level: Your body will protest if you’re out of shape and jump into an intense activity. It’s important to build up your fitness level gradually.
  • Age: Kids and teens are more prone to certain injuries because their bodies are still growing. Older adults may also have a higher risk due to decreased bone density and muscle flexibility.
  • Previous Injuries: Repeated injuries and partial recovery make you more susceptible to recurring issues.

 

6 Causes of Sports Injuries

causes of sports injuries

Sports injuries are a common occurrence, whether you’re casually shooting hoops in the backyard or you’re running a marathon. While accidents can happen at times, certain factors increase the likelihood of sports injuries:

  • Poor Training Practices: If you don’t warm up/cool down properly, if your form is off, or if you’re not using the right equipment, you’re setting yourself up for potential injuries.
  • Overdoing It: Going too hard, too fast, or too long can lead to overuse injuries. Your body needs time to recover and adapt to new levels of physical stress.
  • Being Out of Shape: Couch potatoes are never ready for intense physical activity. Start off with baby steps, slowly allowing your body to prepare for the upcoming physical stress.
  • Environment: Slippery or uneven surfaces, poor lighting, extreme weather conditions — they can all lead to injuries if you’re not careful.
  • Not Using Proper Gear: Whether it’s the right footwear, protective padding, or equipment suited to your size and ability level, appropriate gear is essential to preventing injuries.
  • Ignoring Fatigue or Pain: Not heeding your body’s signals is a risky move. If you’re feeling worn out or you’re in pain, it’s best to take a break. Playing through pain will only worsen an injury.

 

8 Common Symptoms of Sports Injuries

8 common symptoms of sports injuries

Getting sidelined is every athlete’s worst nightmare. That’s why you must learn to recognize the signs of an impending injury.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of sports injuries:

  • Pain: Sharp, persistent pain — anything different from the typical “feeling the burn” sensation — is a sign that something might be off.
  • Swelling: It’s normal to experience swelling right after an injury, but if it doesn’t recede after a few days or gets worse, it’s time to see a physician.
  • Limited Mobility: The inability to move a joint as far as usual might be a sign of an injury.
  • Weakness: Feeling unusually weak or unstable in a specific area, like your knee giving out when you’re running, can be a sign of an injury.
  • Visible Deformities: If something looks out of place (like a bone or joint), immediately seek out medical attention.
  • Numbness or Tingling: These can be signs of nerve damage.
  • Changes in Skin Color: If the skin around an area is red, blue, or looks different than usual, you might have an injury.
  • Tenderness: If an area is particularly sensitive to touch or pressure, it could be injured.

 

15 Most Common Sports Injuries

Achilles Tendinitis

achilles tendinitis

Achilles tendinitis occurs when your Achilles tendon — the tough band of tissue connecting your calf muscle to your heel bone — gets irritated from too much running, jumping, or even walking. It’s like a nagging pain or stiffness in the back of your leg or just above your heel.

Runners experience Achilles tendinitis most often, especially if they exert themselves too hard or too quickly. Also, weekend athletes who suddenly want to relive their high school glory days can get hit with it.

The key is to gradually increase your activity level, warm up before you start, and listen to your body when it’s telling you it’s time to chill!

 

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is like the classic misstep of the sports world. It’s when you roll, twist or awkwardly land on your ankle causing the ligaments (those elastic bands of tissue that hold your ankle bones together) to stretch or tear.

You know you’re dealing with an ankle sprain when you get that sudden sharp pain, swelling, bruising, or even trouble walking.

Athletes are prone to it, especially if they play sports that involve jumping, running, or any quick change in direction. The good news is, most of the time, with a bit of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (for example, the RICE treatment), you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

 

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

anterior cruciate ligament injury

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is the superstar of sports injuries.

The ACL is one of the four main ligaments in your knee, playing a big role in keeping your knee stable. So, hearing about an ACL injury is about as fun as stepping on a Lego barefoot.

It often occurs when you’re making a sudden change in direction or landing a jump — think basketball or soccer. It feels like your knee just can’t hold you up anymore.

These injuries range from mild (a small tear) to severe (the ligament is torn completely or detached from the bone).

 

Broken Bones

A bone fracture is basically when the load on a bone is way heavier than what it can handle. It’s like if you pile too many books on a thin shelf, eventually, it will crack or break.

Bone fractures manifest themselves either as stress fractures (tiny cracks in the bone from overuse, like running marathons or dancing ballet on repeat) or as traumatic fractures (think about crashing on your bike or getting tackled hard during football practice).

Either way, it’s a bummer because it means rest and healing time, but it’s also your body’s sign that it needs a break!

 

Concussions

A concussion is essentially your brain getting shaken up inside your skull, often due to a hard hit or sudden jolt.

Think of your brain as a soft organ floating in fluid inside your hard skull. A blow to the head or even a swift whiplash-like movement can cause the brain to smack into the skull, resulting in a concussion.

Symptoms can range from headaches, dizziness, and confusion, to even loss of consciousness.

But here’s the kicker — symptoms might not show up immediately. So if you or a teammate takes a hard knock, it’s super important to immediately get checked out by a physician ASAP, even if you feel fine at first. After all, we’re talking about the brain here! Safety first, and playing sports comes second.

 

Golfer’s Elbow

golfer's elbow

A golfer’s elbow occurs when the tendons on the inside of your elbow get irritated or damaged, usually from overuse. Imagine the strain on your forearm when you’re doing a golf swing, throwing a baseball, or even just lifting weights — that’s the spot.

Despite its name, you don’t have to be a golfer to get it. It can be a real pain, literally, causing discomfort on the inner side of your elbow and sometimes even down your forearm. You might also notice weakness in your hand and wrist.

If you’ve got it, rest and ice are your best friends. Don’t forget to stretch and strengthen those muscles to prevent it from happening again!

 

Groin Pull

Groin pull is a sports injury you definitely want to dodge. Imagine the muscles of your inner thigh having a major disagreement with a sudden move you make, like a quick side-step, twist, or intense sprint. That’s what we call a groin pull or a groin strain.

This type of injury happens when those inner thigh muscles get stretched beyond their comfort zone. It may range from mild discomfort or an acute injury. If you feel a sudden sharp pain, weakness, or even a popping feeling in the groin area during your workout or game, you may have pulled your groin.

Rest and ice the area right after the injury, and if the pain sticks around, see a healthcare professional to get it sorted.

 

Hamstring Strain

Hamstring strains occur when you overstretch or tear the muscles along the back of your thigh. It’s a common sports injury, especially in activities that involve sprinting or jumping.

Ever seen a soccer or basketball player suddenly pull up and grab the back of their leg? Probably a hamstring strain.

You will typically feel a sudden sharp pain, and might even hear or feel a “pop”. It can put you on the bench for a bit, but with some rest, ice, and physical therapy, most people can get back in the game before too long!

 

Knee Sprain

A knee sprain occurs when one or more of the ligaments in your knee gets overstretched or torn. In sports, this can happen with a hard hit, a bad landing, or a sudden twist.

You might experience pain, swelling, maybe even a popping sound at the time of the injury. Not to forget the instability — it might feel like your knee could give way when you put weight on it.

Don’t push through it, though! Rest up, put some ice on it, and see a physician if it doesn’t get better. They will recommend physical therapy or, in severe cases, surgery.

 

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, or runner’s knee, is a fancy name for pain in the front of your knee and around your kneecap. It’s pretty common in people who love to run, jump, or squat a lot.

This condition often occurs because your kneecap is not sliding smoothly in the groove at the end of your thigh bone. The knee pain worsens when going up or down stairs, kneeling, or sitting with your knee bent for a long time.

Fortunately, with rest, physiotherapy and a few tweaks to your workout, athletes can effectively manage this condition!

 

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries occur when any of the four muscles and tendons that make up your rotator cuff are injured — the part of your shoulder that helps you lift and rotate your arm.

Athletes who do a lot of overhead action, like swimmers or baseball pitchers, are the ones who usually get hit with such injuries.

They can feel like a dull ache deep in your shoulder and might disturb your sleep, especially if you lie on the affected side. Even everyday things like combing your hair or putting on a shirt might even feel like you’re trying to win an Olympic gold medal.

It’s a real drag, but with some rest and the right treatment, it’s something you can bounce back from!

 

Shoulder Injuries

shoulder injuries

Shoulder injuries in athletes often happen due to a lot of repetitive, overhead motions. Think swimming, tennis, pitching in baseball — all of these can lead to shoulder issues. These injuries usually involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, rather than the bones.

Athletes are at risk for shoulder injuries like strains, sprains, dislocations, and conditions like rotator cuff injury or bursitis.

Symptoms include pain (especially when moving the shoulder), stiffness, swelling, and loss of mobility.

 

Sciatica

Sciatica is basically a pain party that your body throws, starting from your lower back and shooting down through your butt and legs. It’s caused by irritation or compression of your sciatic nerve, which runs all the way from your lower spine to your feet.

Athletes experience sciatica pain from heavy lifting, bending, or direct impact injuries. The pain can be quite sharp and even cause numbness or tingling.

Treatment often involves rest, physical therapy, and sometimes pain management. Most athletes feel better over time, but severe cases require more intensive care. Always good to get it checked out if you’re hurting!

 

Shin Splints

Shin splints, or medial tibial stress syndrome, occur when your shins throw a fit after you’ve been running or jumping a lot. It’s this nagging pain along the inner part of your shinbone (the big bone on the front of your lower leg).

Shin splints are common, especially among runners, dancers, or folks in military training. Usually, it’s a sign that you’ve been overdoing it and your muscles, tendons, and bone tissue are under too much stress.

Giving your legs some well-deserved rest, icing the area, and doing some specific exercises often help calm things down. If the pain keeps hanging around, it’s best to get it checked out by a healthcare professional.

 

Tennis Elbow

tennis elbow

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a common injury among athletes. It’s basically a muscle strain injury usually caused by damage to the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the elbow joint, leading to pain around the outside of the elbow.

Despite its name, it’s not just tennis players who get it. Anyone performing a lot of repetitive gripping activities, especially if they use the thumb and first two fingers, can develop tennis elbow.

 

How to Prevent Sports Injuries

Sports injuries can really put a damper on your fun, so it’s essential to take steps to avoid them.

Here’s what you can do to stay safe during games or practice:

  • Warm up before you start: Don’t go from 0 to 100 in a second! Your body needs a heads-up that you’re about to get active. A good warm-up includes light jogging, jumping jacks, or dynamic stretches.
  • Don’t skimp on the cool down: Just like you need to gear up before you start, it’s equally important to wind down when you finish.
  • Stretch, stretch, stretch: Flexibility is crucial in preventing injuries. Regularly stretching keeps your muscles loose and ready for action.
  • Gear up: Always use the right equipment for your sport. Whether it’s a helmet, shin guards, or the right shoes, every bit of equipment plays a role in keeping you safe.
  • Mix it up: Don’t overuse one set of muscles. Cross-training will keep all your muscles in shape and prevent overuse injuries.
  • Know your limits: Listen to your body! If something hurts, take a break.
  • Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water keeps your muscles hydrated and less prone to injury.
  • Get a physical: Regular check-ups can spot potential red flags before they become serious.
  • Learn the right technique: Especially for activities like lifting weights, proper form is critical to sports injury prevention.

prevent sports injuries

Learn More About Sports Injury Prevention With Dr. Doerr!

At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, under the leadership of Dr. Gregory Doerr, adheres to the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care in a comfortable, healing atmosphere. 

Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic care services! Our offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve the areas of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic adjustments!

 

References

  1. “Rice Method for Injuries (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/first-aid/rice-method-injuries. Accessed 30 July 2023.
15 Easy Stretches to Address Your Text Neck Pain!

15 Easy Stretches to Address Your Text Neck Pain!

Today’s article is a comprehensive guide of the ways to address your text neck pain.

Study after study has proved that experiencing neck pain is a prevalent condition among the general population, targeting:

  • University students
  • People working from home

Fortunately, your text neck discomfort will vanish as soon as you address its causes and symptoms through physical therapy, lifestyle improvements, and light exercise.

Let’s learn more about how your text neck ties in with other medical conditions and how a chiropractic approach will help your neck and shoulder muscles feel like new!

“Take a few minutes every day to stretch your text neck pain away!”

 

What is a Text Neck?

text neck

Text neck — or “tech neck” — is a modern-day condition caused by spending too much time hunched over our phones and other electronic devices.

When we tilt our heads down toward our screens, we put extra stress on our neck and spine.

Imagine your head as a bowling ball. Normally, it’s balanced nicely on top of your spine. But when you tilt your head forward to look at your phone, it’s like you’re holding that bowling ball out in front of you. This puts a whole lot of pressure on the muscles in your neck that are trying to hold it up — way more than they’re designed to handle.

Because of this extra strain, we start to feel symptoms like neck pain, soreness, and stiffness. This condition can even lead to headaches and shoulder pain.

Even worse text neck causes a real change in the natural curve of our necks, leading to:

  • Disc herniation
  • Pinched nerves
  • Early onset of neck arthritis

 

Why Do I Have a Text Neck?

You are likely dealing with text neck if you’re:

 

Spending Too Much Time With Your Head Tilted Forward

It’s not just texting; it could be browsing, reading, or playing games. When you’re in this position, the weight of your head puts extra stress on your neck, leading to pain or discomfort.

 

Not Taking Enough Breaks

If you’re glued to your computer screen for hours without looking up or changing position, you’re not giving your neck a chance to rest.

 

Having Poor Posture Overall

text neck cause

When you work long hours on a laptop or desktop and don’t maintain good posture, bad ergonomics can lead to a whole bunch of problems, including text neck.

 

What Medical Issues Can a Text Neck Cause?

Text neck can lead to various medical issues over time, including:

  • Chronic neck and shoulder pain: Regular pain in your neck and shoulders is the most common symptom of text neck.
  • Headaches: A strained neck can cause tension headaches.
  • Reduced neck mobility: Your neck isn’t as flexible as it used to be, or it hurts when you try to turn your head.
  • Early onset of neck arthritis: Over time, text neck can cause wear and tear on the structures of your neck, leading to the early onset of arthritis.
  • Disc herniation: This condition occurs when one of the discs in your spine gets compressed so much that it bulges or ruptures.
  • Pinched nerve: If a disc in your spine bulges enough from the pressure, it can start to press on one of your nerves, causing symptoms ranging from pain and numbness to weakness in your arms or hands.

 

Shall I See My Chiropractor for Text Neck Treatment?

Absolutely! If you’ve got a case of text neck, it’s a great idea to see a chiropractor.

Chiropractors are all about making sure your spine is properly aligned, and they have a bunch of techniques up their sleeves to help alleviate pain and improve function in your neck and spine!

When it comes to text neck, your chiropractor will assess your posture, the severity of your symptoms, and your neck’s range of motion. Then, they can provide you with treatment that may involve spinal adjustments to correct any misalignments. Plus, they can guide you on exercises and stretches that will help strengthen your neck muscles and improve your posture.

A chiropractor will also give you advice on how to prevent text neck in the future, such as:

  • Ergonomic tips for your workstation
  • Proper phone handling
  • Reminders to take regular breaks from screen time

 

15 Exercises and Stretches to Reduce Text Neck Pain

Behind-the-Back Drill

text neck treatment

This stretch is a total champ at opening up the chest and shoulders!

  1. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your knees a little soft, so you’re not locking them.
  2. Interlace your fingers behind your back. You can hold onto a towel or a strap between your hands to make it easier.
  3. Gently straighten your arms and lift them up away from your back. Only go as far as feels comfortable.
  4. As you lift your arms, be careful not to let your ribs pop forward. Keep them down and your core slightly engaged.
  5. Hold this position for about 20 to 30 seconds. Remember to keep breathing!
  6. To release the stretch, slowly lower your arms back down and unclasp your hands.

 

Bow Pose

bow pose

The Bow Pose is a backbend that really opens up the chest, tones the abdominal muscles, and gives a nice stretch to your whole body.

  1. Lie down flat on your stomach. Bend your knees and bring your feet towards your butt.
  2. Reach back with your hands and grab hold of your ankles. If you can’t quite reach them, no worries! Just go as far as you can.
  3. As you inhale, lift your chest off the floor and pull your legs up and back.
  4. Look straight ahead and try to keep your neck relaxed. You’re aiming to get your body to look like a bow, with your arms as the string.
  5. Hold the pose for 15-20 seconds, or however long feels good for you. Remember to breathe!
  6. Exhale and slowly lower your chest and legs back to the floor. Let go of your ankles and relax.

 

Cat-Cow

cat cow

The Cat-Cow stretch is super for your back and neck, and guess what? It’s super easy, too!

  1. Start by getting on all fours on a comfortable surface. Make sure your hands are under your shoulders and your knees are under your hips.
  2. Slowly drop your belly towards the mat, lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling. Take a nice deep breath in as you do this.
  3. As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. The head comes down to look towards your navel, but don’t force it, just let it drop comfortably.
  4. And there you have it, that’s one rep!

 

Chin Tuck

neck pain

This simple exercise can be done anywhere — at your desk, while watching TV, or even when waiting for your coffee to brew!

  1. Get yourself in a comfortable position. You can either be standing up or sitting down.
  2. Look straight ahead while keeping your spine straight. Pretend there’s an invisible string pulling the crown of your head towards the ceiling.
  3. Without tilting your head in any direction or rounding your shoulders, slowly draw your chin back towards your throat.
  4. You should feel a gentle stretch along the back of your neck and maybe even down into your shoulders.
  5. Hold that position for about 5 seconds, then relax. Aim for about 10 reps in total.

 

Downward-Facing Dog

stretches

This stretch is awesome for your back, shoulders, hamstrings, calves — pretty much everything!

  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips. Tuck your toes under.
  2. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, lift your knees off the floor. You’re gonna push your butt up towards the ceiling.
  3. Push the floor away with your hands and feet.
  4. Keep those arms straight, but don’t lock your elbows. Your ears should be in line with your arms, so you’re not straining your neck.
  5. Try to bring your heels down towards the ground.
  6. Take deep breaths and chill here for a few seconds.
  7. To come out of it, slowly lower your knees back to the floor.

 

Exaggerated Nod

neck pain1

This easy stretch can help relieve tension in your neck, especially if you’ve been stuck in that text neck position.

  1. Stand or sit up straight, with your shoulders relaxed.
  2. Slowly lower your chin down towards your chest, as if you’re nodding in slow motion. You should feel a gentle stretch along the back of your neck.
  3. Hold this position for about 5 seconds.
  4. Slowly lift your chin up towards the ceiling, extending your neck backward.
  5. Hold this position for another 5 seconds.
  6. Return to the starting position. Aim for about 10 reps in total.

 

Padahastasana

standing forward bend

Also known as the Standing Forward Bend, this yoga pose is fantastic for giving your back, legs, and even your mind a healthy stretch.

  1. Stand straight, with your feet hip-width apart. Let your arms hang loose at your sides.
  2. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, bend forward from your hips. You’re aiming to bring your head towards your knees.
  3. Try to place your hands beside your feet on the floor. If you can’t reach the floor, no worries! Just go as far as you can.
  4. Hold the position for a few seconds or even a minute if you can. Remember to breathe.
  5. Bend your knees slightly, and then slowly roll your spine up until you’re standing straight again.

 

Quadruped Thoracic Rotation Stretch

This is an amazing stretch for increasing mobility in your upper back and improving your posture.

  1. Get on all fours on a mat. Your hands should be right under your shoulders, with your knees under your hips.
  2. Place your right hand behind your head to keep it aligned.
  3. Rotate your right elbow and shoulder towards your left elbow. Only your upper back should be rotating.
  4. Go as far as your flexibility allows, then pause for a moment.
  5. From there, rotate your right elbow up towards the ceiling, following the movement with your eyes.
  6. Hold for a moment at the top, really feeling the stretch through your back and spine.
  7. Bring your right hand back behind your head. Repeat 5-10 times before switching to your left side.

 

Reverse Shoulder Stretch

This one’s a winner if you’re looking to loosen up those tight shoulders, especially after a long day of typing away or doing any work that has your arms out in front of you.

  1. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent.
  2. Extend your arms out behind you and clasp your hands together. If you can’t quite reach, that’s alright! You can use a towel or a strap to help bridge the gap.
  3. Slowly lift your hands upwards. You’re aiming to feel a good stretch across your chest muscles and shoulders.
  4. Keep your back straight and your gaze forward at all times.
  5. Hold the stretch for about 20 to 30 seconds.
  6. Gently lower your arms, unclasp your hands and give them a little shake.

 

Seated Heart Opener

This stretch is fantastic for opening up your chest, stretching your shoulders, and counteracting forward slouching.

  1. Find yourself a comfy seat. It could be a chair, the edge of your bed, or even a yoga block if you’ve got one.
  2. Sit close to the edge of your seat with your feet firmly planted on the ground. This will help you maintain balance during the stretch.
  3. Reach your hands behind you and place them on the edge of your seat. Your fingers should be pointing away from your body.
  4. Lift your chest towards the ceiling, letting your head drop back gently if it feels okay for your neck.
  5. You should feel a wonderful stretch across your chest and front shoulders. Remember to keep breathing and enjoy the stretch.
  6. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
  7. Slowly lift your head back up and release your hands.

 

Seated Neck Release

The Seated Neck Release is a simple yet effective stretch for relieving tension in your neck and shoulders. You can do it pretty much anywhere you can sit down, so it’s perfect for a quick break during your workday.

  1. Start off by finding a comfy seat. You could use a chair, a bench, or even the floor. Make sure your back is straight.
  2. Sit up nice and tall while relaxing your shoulders.
  3. Gently tilt your head to the right, aiming to bring your ear towards your shoulder. You should feel a nice stretch down the left side of your neck and into your shoulder.
  4. Hold this position for about 30 seconds, then slowly lift your head back up.
  5. Repeat the same steps while tilting your head to the left.
  6. You can do this stretch as often as you need to throughout the day. It’s a great way to break up long periods of sitting or standing.

 

Thoracic Extension

The Thoracic Extension stretch is an effective way to loosen up the thoracic spine and combat a slouchy posture.

  1. Start by sitting on the edge of a chair, with your feet flat on the ground. Make sure your knees are bent at a comfortable, 90-degree angle.
  2. Interlace your fingers and put your hands behind your head.
  3. Lean back over the edge of the chair while keeping your lower back and hips steady.
  4. As you lean back, take a nice, deep breath. You should feel a stretch in your chest and a nice extension in your upper back.
  5. Hold the stretch for a few seconds. Remember to keep breathing!
  6. Exhale and return to the starting position. Aim for about 10 reps in total.

 

Thread the Needle

This yoga practice staple a fantastic pose to release tension and increase flexibility in your shoulders, upper back, and neck.

  1. Start by getting on all fours — hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  2. Take your right hand and slide it, palm facing up, under your left arm.
  3. Keep sliding that right hand over to the left until your right shoulder and the right side of your face gently rest on the floor. Your gaze should naturally be towards the left.
  4. Your left hand can stay where it is, or for a deeper stretch, you can extend it out in front of you on the floor.
  5. Hold this position a few deep breaths. Enjoy the twist and the stretch across your shoulder and upper back.
  6. To come out of the stretch, push gently into your left hand, slide your right hand back to its starting position, and return to all fours.
  7. Repeat the same steps, but this time thread your left hand under your right arm.
  8. You can do this stretch a few times on each side, or as often as needed throughout the day.

 

Trap Stretching

This stretch is perfect for relieving tension in your upper back and shoulders, specifically targeting your trapezius muscles.

  1. Start by standing or sitting up tall, ensuring your back is straight.
  2. Take your right arm, reach it over your head and place your hand on your left ear.
  3. Gently pull your head to the right, tilting it towards your right shoulder.
  4. Hold that position for about 15-30 seconds. You should feel a nice stretch on the left of your neck and into your shoulder.
  5. Release slowly, bring your head back to center, and switch sides to balance it out.
  6. Do this stretch a couple of times on each side, or until you feel your tension melting away.

 

T-Spine Windmill Stretch

This stretch is all about increasing mobility in your thoracic spine. Plus, it feels amazing!

  1. Start off in a tabletop position — hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  2. Take your right hand and place it behind your head. Your elbow should be bent and pointing out to the side.
  3. Rotate your right elbow towards your left elbow under your body. Follow the movement with your eyes.
  4. Once you’ve rotated as far as you can go, reverse the movement and rotate your right elbow up towards the ceiling. Let your gaze follow the movement.
  5. Try to keep the rest of your body still during the stretch. The movement should come from your thoracic spine, not your hips or lower back.
  6. Repeat this windmill-like motion 10 times, then switch sides.

 

5 Effective Ways to Prevent Text Neck Pain

5 effective ways to prevent text neck pain (1)

Aside from stretching, you can adopt a proactive approach to tech neck pain. Our 5 effective tips will help relieve all that pent-up stress in your neck and shoulder muscles, minimizing your text neck risk.

 

Hold Your Phone the Right Way

Try holding your phone at eye level as much as possible. It’ll prevent you from bending your neck and straining those tight muscles. Maybe you’ll get a bonus arm workout, too!

 

Take Some Time Away From Your Phone

Even if you’re mid-scroll through the funniest Twitter thread, make sure to take frequent breaks.

Lift your head up, roll your shoulders, do a quick stretch, or simply look out the window for a bit. It’ll help reset your posture and give your eyes a break too.

 

Invest in a High-Quality Standing Desk

If you’re spending hours a day working at a desk, it might be time to consider getting a standing desk. It helps promote better posture and reduces the risk of neck, shoulder, and back pain. 

Plus, switching between sitting and standing throughout the day can keep you feeling more alert and engaged.

 

Keep an Eye on Your Posture

Try to keep your back straight and shoulders back when you’re standing or sitting. Imagine a string pulling you up from the top of your head. And don’t forget about your lower body — keep your feet flat on the floor when you’re sitting, and try to avoid crossing your legs.

 

Does Your Chair Support Proper Posture?

If a standing desk isn’t your thing, a high-quality ergonomic chair can make a world of difference. These chairs are designed to support your body properly and can be adjusted to fit you just right. It’s an investment, but your body will thank you!

 

Looking for a Text Neck Chiropractor? Dr. Doerr Can Help!

At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, under the leadership of Dr. Gregory Doerr, adheres to the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care in a comfortable, healing atmosphere. 

Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic treatment services! Our chiropractic offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, areas. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatments!

 

References

  1. Lambrou, Dr. Dimitrios. “11 Tips for Getting Rid of Tech Neck.” Northeast Spine and Sports Medicine, 23 Sept. 2022, www.northeastspineandsports.com/blog/11-tips-for-getting-rid-of-tech-neck-northeast-spine-and-sports-medicine/. Accessed 3 Jul. 2023.
  2. Kassel, Gabrielle. “Fix Text Neck with These 6 Exercises and Lifestyle Tips.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 30 May 2020, www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/text-neck-treatment#prevention-tips. Accessed 3 Jul. 2023.
  3. “Say Goodbye to Tech Neck: 5 Essential Physical Therapy Exercises to Help You Get Rid of Pain.” Kessler Rehabilitation Center, www.kesslerrehabilitationcenter.com/why-choose-us/news-blog/physical-therapy-exercises-for-tech-neck-treatment/. Accessed 3 Jul. 2023.
  4. Haupt, Angela, et al. “‘Tech Neck’: Why It’s so Bad for Your Health and How to Beat It.” EverydayHealth.Com, www.everydayhealth.com/wellness/how-to-beat-tech-neck-and-why-its-so-bad-for-your-health/. Accessed 3 Jul. 2023.
  5. David, DeWitt. “Text Neck Treatment and Prevention.” Spine, www.spine-health.com/conditions/neck-pain/text-neck-treatment-and-prevention. Accessed 3 Jul. 2023.
  6. “Text Neck: Health Problems, Finding Relief, and More.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/pain-management/what-to-know-text-neck. Accessed 3 Jul. 2023.
What is the Lower Crossed Syndrome?

What is the Lower Crossed Syndrome?

Do you live a sedentary lifestyle? In today’s world, that’s not a surprise at all. However, if your career or living situation requires prolonged sitting, it is important to properly take care of your body and avoid painful health complications such as lower crossed syndrome. Even if you work a lovely desk job or enjoy your comfy couch time, be sure to spend some time exercising and moving your body. Humans are not designed to stay cooped up, so continue reading to learn more about lower crossed syndrome and exercises designed to avoid or alleviate its symptoms! 

 

What is Lower Crossed Syndrome?

Unterkreuz syndrome, more commonly known as Lower Crossed Syndrome, is caused by large muscle strength imbalances in the abdominal muscles and the gluteus maximus. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the lower crossed syndrome is one of the most common compensatory body patterns. It differs from the upper cross syndrome as it does not occur in the shoulders and neck but in the lower lumbopelvic region. 

When muscles become lengthened or shortened over time, the lower muscular imbalance results in postural changes of the neutral spine, lower back pain, and overactive muscles. Postural changes are most commonly viewed as an increased forward bend of the pelvis coupled with an excessive lower back arch. The uneven pull on your muscles forces the back muscles and hamstrings to work harder, leading to injuries. Because the lower crossed syndrome causes overactivity in certain muscle groups, there is intense tightness of hip flexors and lumbar erector spinae.  

 

The Two Types of Lower Crossed Syndrome

There are two different types of lower crossed syndrome. While they are very similar and involve the same main muscle imbalances and common compensatory patterns, one mainly affects the hip flexors, while the other affects the lower back. Unlike upper cross syndrome, which affects the upper trapezius, both lower crossed syndrome subgroups are differentiated by how they alter the gluteal musculature’s postural alignment and change the myofascial activation patterns of the pelvic region, although they both result in tight muscles and a painful lower back. Often, physical therapy is the best option to resolve this painful condition and muscle weakness. 

 

Posterior Pelvic Crossed Syndrome

The first subgroup is called posterior pelvic crossed syndrome and dominates the axial extensor. In this type of lower crossed syndrome, the pelvis has an anterior tilt while the knees and hip region are put into a slightly flexed position with unnaturally lengthened muscles. Often associated with a compensatory hyperlordosis of the lumbar spine and hyperkyphosis between the thoracic and lumbar spine, the condition leads to a decreased ability to breathe and control one’s posture. The tightened hip flexors and lumbar spine may become painful as they take on more strain to compensate for the weak muscles. 

Furthermore, due to the lack of stabilization within the abdominals and internal oblique, the thorax will move up to over 90 degrees, and the postero-inferior thorax will be hyper-stabilized. This means that exhalation becomes difficult as the rectus abdominis activation cannot lower the thorax into its neutral position. In short, the expiratory phase becomes shortened, and problems arise when the coordination between the transverses and the diaphragm is insufficient. 

 

Anterior Pelvic Crossed Syndrome

The second type of lower crossed syndrome is called the anterior pelvic crossed syndrome and occurs when the abdominal muscles are too weak or too short. In this condition, the muscles compensate with minimal hypolordosis of the lumbar spine, hyperkyphosis of the thoracic spine, and head protraction. Thus, the anterior pelvic tilt forces the knees into a hyperextension. 

 

What Causes the Lower Crossed Syndrome?

The lower crossed syndrome is caused by either the shortening or lengthening of muscles within the pelvic or lumbosacral regions of the body. Often related to or caused by poor posture or prolonged sitting, the lower crossed syndrome results from changing muscular length and increased stress on certain muscles and hip joints. When you maintain improper posture, training, or ability to perform daily tasks, the affected muscles bear the burden of one-sided stress or high tension. Although the lower crossed syndrome is most often linked to poor posture, it can also be caused by general poor health or physical condition. 

Another common cause of the lower crossed syndrome is prolonged sitting. You can cause an imbalance between the muscles as weakness occurs due to reduced mobility or prolonged sitting. 

 

What are the Symptoms of Lower Crossed Syndrome?

The most common symptoms of the lower crossed syndrome are lower back pain or pain within a pelvic or hip joint. Other symptoms include

  • Difficulty moving or stiffness in the lumbar spine, hip, hamstring, or pelvic region 
  • Pain in the hip flexors, groin, spine, or gluteal muscles 
  • Protruding stomach due to an overly arched lower back 
  • Tension in the lower back or gluteal muscles 

 

Lower Crossed Syndrome Exercises

One of the best treatment techniques for the lower crossed syndrome is through an exercise program. Especially if you sit for prolonged periods, it is important to take time to exercise your body and loosen your sitting muscles or gluteus maximus. The first step toward treating this condition is to loosen your hip flexor muscles and joints and strengthen the weakened abdominal and gluteal muscles, particularly the gluteus medius. The goal is to loosen any possibly tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles. Certain floor exercises and stretches can work wonders at reducing pain in the lower body. However, if these exercises fail to reduce tension and pain, you should seek help from a physical therapist. 

 

Muscle-Relaxing Techniques

Everyone should learn how to relax their overactive muscles. One way to do this is by using a foam roller to slowly roll parts of the body. Take the roller and use it on tight muscles such as the quads and inner thighs. If you find a tender spot, hold the position for 30 seconds

 

Iliopsoas Stretch

After you have relaxed your overactive muscles, it is time to begin strengthening and lengthening your weak muscles. The iliopsoas stretch or single-leg squat uses static stretching to do just that. You can even increase the severity of the stretch with the rectus femoris. 

To perform this hip flexor stretch and rectus femoris:

  1. Assume a kneeling position with your back in line with the buttocks and knees.
  2. Put one leg in front of you with the knee bent, the foot resting flat on the ground, and the toes facing forward.
  3. Lean forward into a lunge position until you feel a gentle stretch in the hip flexors and the front and back of the thigh muscles.
  4. Hold the hip flexor stretch for 15-30 seconds, then repeat using the other leg. You can increase this stretch with the rectus femoris by bending the knee more than 90 degrees during the iliopsoas stretch. 

 

Erector Spinae Stretch

A similar gentle stretch is called the erector spinae stretch. In this stretch, you begin by lying in a supine position or an upright fetal position with your knees tucked into your chest and your arms wrapped around your knees. Exhale and stretch while staying balanced on your back. Hold the position for 15 seconds before releasing. 

 

Muscle Strengthening Exercises

The last step is strengthening the muscles and hip flexor with little to no external resistance. 

One exercise you can use is called the bridge: 

  • First, lay flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. 
  • Lift your pelvis into the air with your heels a few inches from your buttocks and your arms extended towards your feet. You should form a straight line with the knees, pelvis, and shoulders by keeping your shoulders on the floor. 
  • Hold the position for a couple of seconds before gently lowering the body. Repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times

Another useful exercise is called hip extension: 

  • Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders, your knees under your hips, and your neck in line with your spine.
  • Stretch the right arm and left leg, keeping your hand and foot against the ground. 
  • Once you feel balanced, raise the outstretched right arm and left leg until they are parallel to your back. 
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and then slowly return to the starting position. 
  • Again, repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times

Once you have begun exercising and stretching your tight cross semi-regularly, you should begin integrating movement patterns to help your brain understand how to move the muscles. Follow the exercises your physical therapist advises you to complete to reach the ultimate goal of integration and resolving muscular imbalances. 

 

Dr. Doerr is the Best Chiropractor in New Jersey for Treating the Lower Crossed Syndrome!

At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, under the leadership of Dr. Gregory Doerr, adheres to the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care in a comfortable, healing atmosphere. 

Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic care services! Our offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve the areas of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic adjustments!

 

References

  1. “Lower Crossed Syndrome.” Physiopedia, www.physio-pedia.com/Lower_Crossed_Syndrome. Accessed 24 Aug. 2022.
  2. Miller, Ken. “Lower Crossed Syndrome: Starting from the Center.” NASM, blog.nasm.org/lower-crossed-syndrome. Accessed 24 Aug. 2022.
What are the Best Range of Motion Exercises for Shoulders?

What are the Best Range of Motion Exercises for Shoulders?

Do you experience limited shoulder movement? A rather common occurrence, limited range of mobility in the shoulder can make daily chores laborious and difficult. Whether the motion involves internal rotation or simply lifting our arm with the elbow bent, the simplest of tasks can become frustrating without our shoulders’ full range of motion. 

If you experience limited mobility in this all-important joint, you can add certain exercises to your daily schedule to increase muscle strength and range of motion. Continue reading to learn how to properly complete shoulder range of motion exercises within the comfort of your home!

 

What Causes Limited Mobility in the Shoulders?

Mobility is the ability of the joint to extend through its full range of motion. Several causes lie behind decreased shoulder mobility, such as tightness within the shoulder due to a previous injury or lack of muscle strength. Some more common causes of shoulder mobility limitations include: 

For a clear diagnosis of your limited shoulder mobility, you should contact your physical therapist and schedule a shoulder special test on your range of motion. A normal range of shoulder motion is attainable with proper care and diligent exercise!

 

Shoulder Range of Motion Exercises

Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body! When in proper working order, most joints like your shoulder can provide an incredibly active range of motion, performing shoulder flexion, external rotation, and internal rotation pain-free. However, this healthy range of motion is susceptible to shoulder pain conditions and limited mobility when overused or underused. 

There are a few shoulder range of motion or shoulder ROM (i.e., range of motion) exercises for joint health and healing. Your physical therapist may also recommend certain exercise programs to help you restore your normal range of shoulder motion and decrease any active pain within the area. Use the following exercises with care during your daily living routine in addition to physical therapy to activate your full range of motion:

 

#1: Active Shoulder Abduction

Active shoulder abduction is the best exercise to begin your journey toward a normal range of shoulder motion. This exercise is less strenuous as it is performed while lying on one side with your troublesome shoulder on top.  

  1. Once you are lying comfortably with the upper arm elbow straight and your thumb pointed towards the ceiling, slowly lift your arm from your hip and into the air towards the ceiling until it reaches its abduction range. Keep your arm straight and in line with your body and your thumb pointed toward the ceiling. 
  2. Once in this position, move your shoulder through its pain-free shoulder ROM before slowly lowering your arm to its resting position on your hip. 
  3. Repeat the exercise 8 to 12 times and progress to the next exercise. 
  4. If you feel any worsening pain in your shoulder or arm at any point in your exercise routine, stop immediately and contact your healthcare provider before continuing any similar stretching exercises.

#2: Active Horizontal Abduction

The next exercise is similar to the first and is called a horizontal abduction

To start this exercise:

  1. Lie on your side with your target shoulder on top.
  2. Keep your arm straight and your shoulder flexed so that your arm is out in front of you and parallel to the floor.
  3. Slowly lift your arm until it is pointing towards the ceiling in an active external rotation and hold the position for one to two seconds before you slowly bring your arm to its starting position.
  4. With your elbow straight, move through a pain-free shoulder ROM and repeat the lateral rotation 8 to 12 times.

#3: Active Shoulder External Rotation

An active shoulder external rotation is an easy and effective exercise to increase your active range mobility, improving your shoulder range of motion. 

  1. Unlike our previous exercises, begin by lying flat on your back. It is easier to complete the exercise if your knees are comfortably bent toward the ceiling with your feet lying flat on the ground. 
  2. Keep the elbow of your target shoulder against your side with the elbow bent 90 degrees. 
  3. With a cane or long stick in your opposite hand, push the stick against the hand of your affected arm so it experiences an external rotation. 
  4. Hold the position for 10 seconds before relaxing and repeating the external rotation exercise 8 to 12 times.

 #4: Side-Lying Shoulder External Rotation

Try side-lying shoulder external rotation to exercise and improve the mobility of your rotator cuff muscles. This exercise improves rotator cuff strength and neuromuscular control of this muscle group when used after rotator cuff surgery or previous shoulder injuries. However, before performing the exercise, speak with your healthcare provider and physical therapist to ensure that this exercise is right for you. 

  1. Begin the external rotation exercise by lying in the same initial positioning as our previous exercises, on your side with your bad shoulder resting on the outer end of your body. This time, keep your upper arm elbow bent at a 90-degree angle and tuck it into your side. Your elbow should stay tucked at your side during the exercise stretch while your hand should be resting comfortably in front of your navel. 
  2. Slowly lift your arm upward so that your fingers face the ceiling and your shoulder is in a slight external rotation. Keep your elbow bent into your side as you lift into a lateral rotation. 
  3. Hold it there for a few seconds before slowly letting your arm return to its neutral position near your navel. Repeat this motion 8 to 12 times.

#5: Shoulder Internal Rotation

The next exercise will help you strengthen your normal shoulder range of motion through internal or medial rotation. 

  1. Shoulder internal rotation exercises are performed while lying on your side, but your target shoulder should be on the bottom of your body, and your unaffected arm should lie on top. For comfort, you may want to move your arm forward an inch or two, so you are not lying directly on your arm or elbow. 
  2. While keeping your elbow bent to 90 degrees and your palm facing up, slowly rotate your shoulder with your hand moving upward and your palm facing toward your navel in an internal rotation. This shoulder ROM should be pain-free. 
  3. Once your hand is up at your navel, hold the position for about two seconds before slowly lowering it to the starting position. 
  4. As always, repeat this medial rotation exercise 8 to 12 times.

#6: Arm Swings

Standing arm swings are a more dynamic exercise that increases blood flow to the shoulder joint and involves moving your arms in a rotational motion. This exercise is a great addition to any warm-up before upper arm and body exercises and can improve mobility and flexibility in your shoulders and upper back.

  1. Begin by standing tall with each arm straight by your sides. 
  2. Engage your core and slowly rotate or swing your arms forward until they reach their abduction range without triggering shoulder pain. Raising your arms upward allows your joint to stretch into a comfortable shoulder flexion and normal ROM. 
  3. Do not raise your shoulders during this exercise. Return your arms to their starting position and repeat the motion for 30 to 60 seconds.

#7: Shoulder Pass-Through

Try using the shoulder pass-through exercise to increase joint mobility and obtain a normal shoulder range while engaging the surrounding shoulder muscles such as the teres minor. This exercise requires holding a long, easily gripped stick such as a broomstick or PVC pipe. 

  1. Start this exercise in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms in front of your body. 
  2. Hold the stick with an overhand grip with your palms facing downward, and keep your arms a little wider than shoulder-width. 
  3. Make sure the stick remains parallel to the floor as you engage your core to slowly raise the stick above your head, exercising your teres minor. 
  4. Keep your arms straight and lift them to the highest point you are comfortable with. 
  5. Hold the pose for a few seconds and then return to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat the exercise 5 times.

#8: Reverse Fly

The reverse fly is a little more complicated exercise that targets the upper back and thoracic muscles, providing stability for the shoulder joint. You will need a light set of dumbbells to conduct this exercise. 

  1. Hold one dumbbell in each hand and position your feet shoulder-width apart to begin the exercise. 
  2. Slightly bend your knees and engage your core to lean forward at the waist. Keep your back straight and your arms extended with each elbow bent slightly. 
  3. With your palms facing the ground, carefully raise your arms away from your body by focussing on squeezing your shoulder blades together. 
  4. Stop and slowly return to the starting position when you reach shoulder height or the highest point you can painlessly attain with your shoulder blades. 
  5. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions and do not continue if you experience shoulder pain.

#9: Dumbbell Rotation

As the name implies, the dumbbell rotation requires a light dumbbell. You can use this exercise to warm up your shoulder before overhead and throwing motions with a normal shoulder range. 

  1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Hold the dumbbell and raise your arm until your elbow is shoulder height. 
  3. Keep the proper position with your palm facing the ground and your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. 
  4. Slowly rotate your shoulder to raise your upper arm and weight to its highest point toward the ceiling. 
  5. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat 2 to 3 sets of 12 repetitions before changing sides.

#10: High-to-Low Rows

High-to-low rows strengthen the upper back and thoracic muscles through a resistance band or cable machine. 

  1. Secure a resistance band to a sturdy object above shoulder height. 
  2. Kneel down on one knee and grab the band with your opposite hand. You can either rest your other arm at your side or on your hip. 
  3. As you slowly pull the band towards your body, keep your torso and arm straight. It is easiest to focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together while completing the motion. 
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets on each side. 

If you keep up with these exercises and other recommendations from your physical therapist, you should be able to attain your normal range of motion within no time!

 

Dr. Doerr is the Best Chiropractor in New Jersey for Treating Shoulder Mobility Issues!

At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, under the leadership of Dr. Gregory Doerr, adheres to the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help for post-concussion syndrome patients. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care in a comfortable, healing atmosphere.

Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic care services! Our offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve the areas of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD. Also, access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on concussion treatment!

 

References

  1. Brett Sears, PT. “4 Exercises to Improve Shoulder Range of Motion.” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 15 May 2022, www.verywellhealth.com/shoulder-active-range-of-motion-exercises-2696619. Accessed 3 Aug. 2022.
  2. Lindberg, Sara. “Shoulder Mobility Exercises and Stretches with Pictures.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 10 Jan. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/shoulder-mobility-exercises#exercises. Accessed 3 Aug. 2022.
What Are the Best Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Exercises?

What Are the Best Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Exercises?

Most people are somewhat familiar with what carpal tunnel syndrome is. But symptoms aren’t always obvious, and some are downright confusing. Recognizing where carpal tunnel pain comes from provides cues for some of the activities and positions you should avoid. You can also learn some carpal tunnel syndrome exercises that may improve the condition.

 

What Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Actually Is

When you understand what carpal tunnel syndrome is, you get a better sense of how carpal tunnel syndrome exercises work. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, and shoulders. Its symptoms range from mild to severe.

The bony side of your wrist is made up of carpal bones. However, the palm side of your wrist is softer. It contains the carpal tunnel, a narrow tube that houses nerves, tendons, and ligaments. When this passageway becomes damaged, inflamed, or compressed, it can pinch the median nerve, regulating movement and feeling in the first three fingers and thumb. As a result, the impaired nerve can’t transmit sensations properly, and you may experience numbness, tingling, and pain.

 

What Carpal Tunnel Symptoms Do Exercises Help With?

The spot where carpal tunnel pain begins isn’t always obvious. Symptoms may come on gradually and mildly.

When it comes to carpal tunnel, the hands are a commonly affected area. Some people have numbness in their thumb and first two fingers. Distinguishing between hot and cold sensations may be difficult. Not thinking much of it, you shake out your hand and go on with your day. Over time, you may develop pain, numbness, and weakness anywhere from your fingertips to your shoulder.

Carpal tunnel syndrome exercises help:

  • Prevent injury from repetitive motions
  • Maintain proper function and flexibility in the hands and wrists
  • Regain fine motor function after experiencing weakness
  • Relieve and prevent pain
  • Prevent muscle atrophy in the wrists and hands
  • Prevent compression in the carpal tunnel

How to Relieve Pain from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Exploring where carpal tunnel pain comes from can guide you toward a solution. If an underlying health condition exacerbates your carpal tunnel hands pain, you may find relief when you control symptoms of that disease. For example, repetitive use symptoms can be alleviated by taking more frequent breaks, relaxing your grip, and stretching.

The following carpal tunnel syndrome exercises are basic and easy to do at work, in the car, or while you’re standing in line at the grocery store. Do them slowly and intentionally, and repeat the movements up to five times:

  • Wrist rotations – Keeping your wrists stable, move your hands side to side and up and down.
  • Thumb stretch – Use the opposite hand to give your thumb a gentle, backward stretch.
  • Finger stretches – Extend your fingers as straight and as wide as you can, then relax them.

The next group of carpal tunnel syndrome exercises provides a more intense stretch. Try them before and after doing an activity that exacerbates your symptoms:

  • Prayer hands – Place your palms together under your chin, with the fingers pointing up. Move your hands down to your waist while maintaining contact. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds.
  • Wrist flexor stretch – Holding your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing up, bend your wrists so that your fingers point to the floor. For a deeper stretch, provide gentle pressure on the fingertips with the opposite hand.
  • Wrist flexor stretch – Holding your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing down, bend your wrists so that your fingers point to the floor. Push on your fingers with the opposite hand to intensify the stretch.

Some movements are safer to do when your muscles, tendons, and ligaments are warm. For example, apply a hot compress to your forearms, wrists, and hands for 15 minutes before doing the following carpal tunnel syndrome exercises. Then, hold a cold compress to it for 20 minutes afterward. These exercises are excellent for working into your bedtime routine:

  • Medial nerve glide – Begin with your hand in a fist. Then, straighten your fingers and thumb, keeping them pressed together. Next, stretch your hand back toward your wrist before turning your palm to face upward and stretching your thumb gently backward with your opposite hand.
  • Tendon glide – Hold your hand in front of you, with the palm facing forward and fingers pointing up. Slowly curl your fingers into a tight fist, keeping your knuckles pointing up. You can also do this without fully curling your fingers. Instead, focus on bending straight fingers until they come close to your palm.

Here are some other tips for how to relieve pain carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Don’t sleep on your hands.
  • Rotate your wrists and extend your fingers regularly throughout the day.
  • Wear a snug splint to limit wrist bending while you sleep.
  • Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Use cold compresses to reduce pain.

Although you might not want to hear it, using a smartphone may increase your risk of developing this condition. If you have mild symptoms, try using your phone less frequently.

 

Myths about the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are many myths about what carpal tunnel syndrome is, including:

  • Typing causes carpal tunnel syndromeTyping for fewer than 20 hours a week doesn’t increase your risk, although your wrist position does affect carpal tunnel pressure. Maintaining a neutral wrist position keeps the pathway open.
  • You have carpal tunnel syndrome if your hands fall asleep – A few different conditions can cause numbness and tingling in the extremities.
  • Carpal tunnel is the same as tennis elbow – Carpal tunnel elbow is not a thing. However, the syndrome can cause pain in the inner elbow, making people wonder if they have a carpal tunnel of the elbow or tennis elbow. A health care provider can help you diagnose the condition.
  • Surgery is the only option – There are many physical therapy, chiropractic, and at-home treatments. In fact, surgery is not always as effective as conservative treatments.

If you ask friends, family, and social media followers about what carpal tunnel symptoms you have, you may not get accurate answers. Learn how to ease your discomfort and remedy the source of the pain by getting professional care. An experienced chiropractor or sports treatment specialist can also ensure that a different condition or an injury doesn’t cause the pain.

We’re Looking Forward to Helping You at Our Chiropractic Offices in NJ!

At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. After all, our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices in Cliffside Park, NJ, and Hackensack, NJ, are ready to welcome you!