This weekend, I’d like to open my heart to all mothers in the Save Our Bones community and wish them a very Happy Mother’s Day. I know from my own experience that we are often reluctant to devote time to ourselves. So I hope that you’ll celebrate the day and the decision you’ve made to take control of your bone health.
Now on with today’s challenge, that corrects and prevents slumped shoulders, Dowager’s Hump and forward head posture (FHP).
The Neck And Shoulders Aligner works the neck muscles, improving flexibility and range of motion. It also strengthens the shoulders and upper back, helping maintain good posture and increasing the strength and alignment of the vertebrae.
It can even ease the pain of tension headaches, as a recent study shows.
Let’s get started!
Let’s go over the muscles that the Neck And Shoulder Aligner targets.
The neck extensors consist of the splenius capitis and the splenius cervicis.
The splenius capitis begins at the nuchal ligament and the 3rd, 4th, and 7th cervical vertebrae at the back of the neck. The nuchal ligament runs right down the middle of your neck, and helps sustain and support your head’s weight.
The splenius cervicis attaches to the very top 2 cervical vertebrae.
The “traps” are a large muscle that covers a significant portion of the upper back and shoulders. Shaped something like a diamond, the traps begin at the base of your neck and fan out to your shoulders and down to the thoracic vertebrae.
A strong trapezius is vitally important in the fight against Dowager’s Hump, and it’s crucial in the pursuit of proper posture. The traps support your head, rotate your scapulae (shoulder blades), and also help extend your neck.
Strengthening These Muscles Is Key To Proper Posture
Later, we’ll take a look at a study showing how strong traps and neck extensors can ease and prevent tension headache pain. But first, I want to mention forward head posture, or FHP, and how important it is to address it with exercise.
Savers are familiar with the term “FHP” – it refers to the “poking forward” of the head that can occur as a result of or precursor to Dowager’s Hump. With smart phones, computer screens, and even certain occupations requiring us to adopt a posture where we lean down and forward, it’s no wonder that FHP and the resulting pain are on the rise.
So it’s more vital than ever to address the alignment of the thoracic and cervical vertebrae, and to strengthen the muscles in this area. And that’s exactly what the Neck And Shoulders Stabilizer is intended to do.
Now let’s get to today’s exercise that works these important muscles.
You’ll need an ordinary towel for this exercise.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Hold the towel between your hands, stretched about shoulder-width apart with a fair amount of tension.
- Holding the towel and keeping it taut, raise your arms above your head.
- Move your arms backward until you feel some stretching and tension in your arms.
- Bend your arms to lower the towel down behind your head until it touches the top of your shoulders. Keep the towel stretched taut.
- Repeat the raising and lowering of the towel 15 times (or as many as you feel comfortable) for one set.
- Repeat the set of 15 three times. As you advance, you can work up to 5 sets of 25 repetitions per set.
The Neck And Shoulders Aligner Also Helps Ease Tension Headaches
An intriguing study looked at muscle weakness in the neck and shoulders, and explored how it relates to tension-type headaches (TTH). The researchers compared 60 adults who had tension headaches with 30 individuals who did not experience them. They measured the strength of participants’ neck extensor muscles, trapezius (which today’s exercise targets), and neck flexors.
Researchers discovered that participants without TTH had neck extension muscles that were stronger by 26%. The neck flexor strength was less significant between the groups at only 12%, causing one of the study authors to note a tendency toward imbalance in these muscle groups.
In other words, those with weak neck extensors tended to have strong flexors. This can cause the head to be pulled forward, resulting in pain.1
Additionally, the non-TTH group also had stronger traps and shoulder strength.1
The problem may lie with the same postural issues that bring on FHP: repetitive, “dysfunctional” motions during our daily lives, such as sitting at a computer, leaning over a dental patient (as dental hygienists do), and so forth.
In contrast, regular exercise involves highly functional, varied motion that offsets the dysfunction of poor posture and continual sitting.
It’s also good to “keep your muscles guessing” with lots of variation, such as the wide variety of moves found in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System.
Densercise™ is designed to build your bones and correct your posture, with simple exercises you can do anywhere, anytime. It is delivered digitally to your e-mail inbox so you can instantly download it and get started. It also features an online video collection you can refer to that clarifies each move.
Please let us know how you like the Neck And Shoulders Aligner by leaving a comment below.
Have a great weekend!
1 Madsen, Bjarne K., et al. “Neck and shoulder muscle strength in patients with tension-type headache: A case-control study.” Cephalalgia. April 1, 2015. Doi: 10.1177/0333102415576726. Web. https://cep.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/03/30/0333102415576726.abstract