Nearly everyone has experienced neck or back pain at some point, whether you spend hours sitting at a desk hunched over your computer everyday, or spend hours shoveling dirt, you’ve felt it and you know how disruptive it can be to your life. Often times back and neck pain is from poor posture and/or weak muscles in the neck or back. Here are three easy exercise you can do at home to help strengthen neck and back muscles, improve posture, and alleviate pain.

This first exercise strengthens the muscles at the base of the neck helping to alleviate neck pain. You can do it standing with feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, or you can do it seated. Start by sitting up (or standing) with your back straight and head facing forward. Bring your arms out to the side, elbows bent with your hands up in a fist. Squeezing your shoulder blades together bring your arms slightly back, hold for 10 seconds, then release back to the starting position. Repeat this motion 20 times.

This next exercise helps relieve upper back pain, strengthening the muscles in your upper back. You’ll need a rolled up towel or small pillow folded in half. Lay flat on the floor on your stomach and place the towel or pillow under your chest. Extend your arms straight out to the side with your hands in a fist thumb side of your hands up. Bring your hands up and slightly lift chest squeezing back your back muscles, hold for 10 seconds, then release placing your hands back to the ground. Do this motion 20 times.

This last exercise will help strengthen all back muscles and should really help with lower back pain. Start in a low plank (back and neck straight and flat, no slouching or sticking butt up) with elbows bent on the floor and hands out in front of you. Hold the plank position for 5 seconds then turning to one side come up onto one arm and hold for 5 seconds, come back down to plank and repeat on other side. Repeat this motions 10 times (5 on each side).

Please remember to stretch!

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