• Nicola Meir

Do you have back, neck or shoulder pain? Techniques you can try at home for when you can’t se

Desperate for a massage but not sure how it’s possible with a two metre gap between you and your therapist? I’ve wracked my brain on this and hate to tell you – it’s not possible. Unless I use two long wooden broomsticks as massage tools!!😀 Jokes aside, it’s certainly very challenging at the moment and I’ve heard from many of you who are experiencing discomfort in your back, neck and shoulders. Many of you who are working from home at a makeshift desk sitting on a dining room chair hunched over a laptop. Many of you who are homeschooling your children or generally trying to keep them entertained. And many who are not exercising as much as you would like to or normally do. All of which can lead to back, neck and shoulder pain as well as feelings of stress and anxiety coping with living in these unprecedented times.

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Below are some simple yet effective seated and floor based stretches.  These should bring some relief to tight painful muscles, relax, re-energise and bring balance.

*Remember to breathe deeply and slowly and if at all possible lay or sit quietly for five minutes after doing these stretches. For the seated stretches try to sit on an upright chair rather than a sofa. For the floor based stretches try to lay on carpet, a rug or a yoga mat. If you feel any sharp shooting pains at any time stop immediately and sit or lay in a relaxed position*

SEATED STRETCHES

Stretching neck and shoulders

Shoulder shrug:

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  1. Raise both shoulders at once up toward the ears.

  2. Drop them and repeat 10 times.

Neck stretches:

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  1. Relax and lean your head forward.

  2. Slowly roll toward one side and hold for 10 seconds.

  3. Repeat on other side.

  4. Relax again and lift your chin back to starting position.

  5. Do this three times for each direction.

Upper trapezius stretch:

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  1. Gently pull your head toward each shoulder until a light stretch is felt.

  2. Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds.

  3. Alternate once on each side.

Stretching out your arms

Tricep stretches:

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  1. Raise your arm and bend it so that your hand reaches behind your head towards the opposite shoulder.

  2. Use your other hand and pull the elbow toward your head.

  3. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

  4. Repeat on the other side.

Overhead reach:

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  1. Extend each arm individually overhead ensuring shoulder is sitting in its socket.

  2. Reach to the opposite side straight over your head, don’t lean forwards.

  3. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

  4. Repeat on the other side.

Stretching our your torso & shoulders

Shoulder stretch:



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  1. Clasp hands behind your back.

  2. Push the chest outward, with back straight and raise the chin.

  3. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

Forward stretch:

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  1. Raise your hands in front of you with arms out straight and lower your head in line with your arms.

  2. Press forward and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

Torso stretch:

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  1. Keep your feet firmly on the ground, facing forward (try not to cross your legs like in this picture).

  2. Twist your upper body in the direction of the arm that’s resting on the back of your chair.  (try to keep your head, neck and body in line with each other).

  3. Hold pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

  4. Repeat on other side.

FLOOR BASED STRETCHES

Seated Twist:

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  1. Sit with your legs crossed and back straight. Face forwards.

  2. Place left hand on right knee and start to twist torso to the right. Place right band behind you. Try to twist from your waist rather than just your shoulders, neck and head. This is a fantastic stretch for the whole of the back.

  3. Try to hold for five slow breaths.

  4. Swap sides and change the cross over of your legs as you do so.

Cat & Cow:

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  1. Position yourself in table top ( on hands and knees)

  2. Slowly round your back, lower your head and stretch out your neck downwards, then arch your back and lift your head. Try to lift and move from your chest.

  3. Move slowly through the movements. Try to synchronise your breath, exhaling when arching your back and inhaling when rounding your back.

Knee Rolls:

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  1. Ensure the small of your back is always touching the floor (push your naval to your spine)

  2. Keep your neck long and head on the floor.

  3. Gently bend your knees into your chest and back out again and out to each side all whilst holding your knees. Make this a slow movement. You could move your knees in a circular movement. Keep them together at all times. It will massage your lower back and you should feel a stretch across your mid back.

Child’s Pose:

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  1. Keep you feet together and spread your knees wide.

  2. Reach your hands forward as far as you can and sit back on your feet, rest your forehead on the floor. You should feel a stretch right across your back, shoulders and upper arms.

  3. Try to hold for five slow breaths.

Cow Face:

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  1. You can do this standing or sitting up straight on a chair

  2. If your hands do not touch you can use a dressing gown cord or belt like the second picture. This is a great stretch for the triceps and shoulders.

  3. Try to hold for five slow breaths and repeat on both sides.

Eagle arms:

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  1. Sitting up straight put your arms out in front of you and cross them over at the elbow.

  2. Bend your arms so that your hands are pointing up to the ceiling.

  3. Lastly cross over your hands so that one hand is touching the other hands palm. This is a fantastic stretch for the shoulders and upper arms.

  4. Take five slow deep breaths before repeating on the other side.

Wall stretch:

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  1. This is a fab stretch to loosen tight shoulders and pectoral muscles.

  2. Stand with your right shoulder about a foot away from the wall.

  3. Reach your right arm back behind you and place your hand on the wall. Make sure it is level with your shoulder.

  4. Take a step closer to the wall to really feel the stretch through your right shoulder and chest. Then, if you are able to, slightly rotate your chest outwards to intensify the stretch.

  5. Hold for five slow breaths and repeat on both sides.

Threaded Needle:

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  1. Start in a table top position (on all fours) and slowly lower your arms out in front of you and sit back on your heels. Whilst doing this thread one arm underneath the opposite armpit. It’s like you are threading your arm through the gap between your opposite armpit and knee.

  2. This is a fantastic stretch for your back, shoulders and arms.

  3. Hold for five slow breaths and then switch sides.

Revolved Abdomen Pose:

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  1. Lie on your back with your knees into your chest (ensure your back is long and touching the floor)

  2. Put your arms out sideways, shoulder height.

  3. Exhale and sweep your knees over to the right.

  4. Actively try to stretch your left arm out to provide a counterpoint to the twist. At the same time try to keep your left shoulder blade touching the ground.

  5. You can also move your head to face the left (opposite direction to your legs).

  6. Try to hold for five slow deep breaths before slowly moving your legs back to centre and then working on the other side.

Tip: Exhale as you lean into the stretch for a greater range of motion.

*Please remember to stop immediately if you feel any sharp shooting pains*

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I really hope that these stretches bring some relief to any pain and discomfort you might be experiencing. I am always hear if there is anything you’d like to discuss. But I look forward to treating you when I can x

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