ASCP Skin Deep


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96 ASCP Skin Deep Spring 2022 DO YOU OFTEN FEEL a stiff neck, tense upper back, or pain in your shoulders after a day of being slouched over, working on your clients? Upper-body stiff ness and tightness can be caused by improper posture and performing the same tasks day after day, which can result in an overuse injury. Overuse injuries result from impaired strength, fl exibility, and mobility. It is important to fi rst acknowledge which parts of your body tend to carry the most tension and then realize what you are repetitively doing that could be the cause of it. Taking the time to stretch the upper body throughout the day can relieve overall tension and help you get through the workday pain-free. Perform these three active stretches to relieve upper-body tension while improving mobility and posture. LEVATOR SCAPULAE STRETCH Best performed when seated but can be done standing Sit up tall in a chair. Rotate your head to one side and tilt the chin downward, aiming for the chin to meet the chest. To increase the stretch, place your hand on the back of your head and gently pull your head down further. As you start to feel a nice stretch, hold for at least 7 seconds. Return your head fully upright and then repeat 5 times. Notice where you feel a stretch taking place: You should feel it from your upper mid-back all the way up the neck into the skull. Repeat on the other side. THORACIC EXTENSION STRETCH Perform in a chair or stool with a back Begin seated with both hands behind your head. Keeping your elbows bent, slowly arch your head and chest, extending your back over the chair or stool. Your mid- thoracic region will begin to bend while pushing against the back of the chair. To feel it lower in the thoracic spine, scoot the hips forward. If you prefer a bit higher for the upper thoracic region, try sitting on a pillow. Continue to perform the stretch, going back and forth from sitting upright to a slight back extension. Perform at least 5 rounds. WALL ANGELS Perform standing against a at wall or lying on the oor Start with your back against the wall in a slight squat (or lie on the fl oor, on your back with knees bent and feet fl at on the fl oor). Bring your elbows out to your sides against the wall at shoulder height. Press your entire back into the wall, causing you to brace your core to eliminate the natural arch in the lower back. Slowly begin to glide your arms up and down the wall, making a "W" to "V" pattern against the wall. Your forearms and the back of your hands should press into the wall as well. If you're not able to raise your arms above your head while continuing to make sure everything stays pressed against the wall, take note: It's even more important for you to perform this move, because it improves T-spine mobility and teaches you how to pull your shoulders back and avoid a rounded back. MOVE FOR A MINUTE A Bit of a Stretch Combat upper-body stiffness with a few simple stretches by Marisa Savino 1 2 3

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