Scapular retraction is a term used to describe the movement of squeezing your shoulder blades towards your spine. This action can help you to relieve tension and minor pain related to stress. Completing this exercise when combined with other shoulder/neck stretches can help prevent the development of trigger points.
When a muscle develops a trigger point, also known as a knot, it is due to repetitive stress most commonly a tensing of muscles that happens subconsciously when we are anxious or worried. These trigger points can create radiating pain and are thought to be linked to chronic headaches.
Although we can’t eliminate the stresses from our lives, we can work to relieve the tension from our muscles and practice self care by adding in a quick and gentle stretching routine.
Complete this routine whenever you feel tension, aches, or pains in your neck or shoulders.
Routine to ease upper body tension
When completing this routine try to sync each movement to your breathing. Hold each stretch for a few breaths (or however many your body is comfortable with) and release the position slowly on exhale.
- Chin to Chest: Hold your chin to your chest, looking down
- Chin to Ceiling: Hold your head up towards the ceiling, looking up
- Chin to Right Shoulder: Hold your chin towards your right shoulder, looking towards the right
- Chin to Left Shoulder: Hold your chin towards your left shoulder, looking towards the left
- Circle your head: Circle your head in each direction going clockwise and counter clockwise
- Shoulders up: Raise both your shoulders up towards your ears
- Shoulders down: Lower both of your shoulders down trying to get them as far away from your ears as possible
- Shoulders forwards: Bring your shoulders forwards jutting them out in front of your body
- Shoulders backwards: Bring your shoulders backwards squeezing your shoulder blades together
- Circle your shoulders: Circle your shoulders in each direction going forwards and backwards