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An Effective Stretch for Back and Shoulder Stiffness
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Jul 11, 2016
This is a highly effective stretch for improving extension through your thoracic spinal region and flexion of your shoulder joints.
To execute this stretch, you'll need a large exercise ball and an object that is heavy enough to allow you to anchor your weight with your hands.
If you don't have an exercise ball, you can create a similar stretch using an ottoman or even a pile of dense blankets or towels.
The idea is to lie on the exercise ball with the middle of your thoracic spine and the backs of your shoulders centered on the ball, to secure your arms to an object that is slightly lower than the level of your head while you are lying on the ball, and then to allow your pelvis to sink lower than the ball to accentuate the stretch through your thoracic spine and shoulders.
If you don't have a heavy object to secure your hands to, you can try holding a dumbbell instead - about five to ten pounds should be enough, and will allow for some balance and proprioceptive training, as using a dumbbell to anchor yourself will require that you use more of your core muscles to stabilize your body on the ball.
Be conservative in how much you let your pelvis sink down off the edge of the ball and in how long you hold this stretch for. Many years of sitting at a desk diminishes thoracic spine extension and shoulder flexion, and it takes a good deal of consistent effort over a long period of time for most people to restore optimal range of motion to both of these areas.
If you have any questions about this stretch, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. Hope this proves to be helpful.
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