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14 Easy Movements to Ease Shoulder Pain

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From college students to office workers to entrepreneurs, to writers…

From web designers to accountants, to secretaries, to internet marketers…

For work and for fun, we spend much of our time today hunched over, staring at screens.

If you’re one of those people, I don’t have to tell you that spending this much time in front of a computer or laptop has its downfalls. Namely, hunched shoulders, poor posture, and neck, shoulder, and back pain. 

And, with the ever-rising use of cell phones, this isn’t just a problem for adults. 

Spending large amounts of time looking down at a cell phone is becoming problematic for both adults and children, which leads to the same problems with posture and pain. 

Rounded or hunched shoulders are a result of actually being hunched over throughout the day (in these cases in front of a computer screen). 

When your posture in front of your laptop or computer has you hunched over in this manner, your shoulders tend to roll forward. 

This tightens the muscles in your chest which actually exacerbates the problem, as those tightened chest muscles in turn pull your shoulders forward as well. 

But, tightness and discomfort aren’t the only downfalls of your hunched or rounded shoulders. 

If this is left untreated, or just masked by over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications (which have a laundry list of side effects in and of themselves), your hunched shoulders could lead to other complications such as:

  • a chronic pain condition 
  • headaches 
  • breathing problems
  • spinal damage 

The good news? 

There are stretches and exercises that you can do on a regular basis to ease pain, promote mobility, proper posture and alignment, and strengthen the muscles in your chest, back, and shoulders to keep them from rounding or hunching forward. 

If your job has you spending hours in front of a screen, consider incorporating the following to promote proper posture, an aligned spine, and healthy shoulder muscles that aren’t hunched or rounded. 

Stretches

First thing in the morning, or when you feel your back or shoulders begin to tighten up throughout your day, incorporate the following stretches for your chest, arms, and shoulders.  

These are meant to loosen up stiff muscles, increase blood flow to those tight areas, and promote proper neck, back, and shoulder posture. 

Neck and Shoulder Stretch

This stretch can immediately relieve tightness in both your neck and shoulders, and improve posture.

You can do this stretch seated or standing. 

  • Stand tall, or sit up straight in a chair and face forward, keeping your arms hanging down at your sides. 
  • Broaden your shoulders, then tilt your right ear down to your right shoulder. 
  • Hold for 20-60 seconds.
  • Then, tilt your left ear to your left shoulder. (Continuing to keep your arms hanging straight down.)
  • Hold for 20-60.
  • Repeat this sequence 4 times. 

Chest Stretch

This stretch loosens tight pectoral muscles. When these muscles are tight, this causes your shoulders to hunch forward. 

This stretch counteracts the inward rotation of your shoulders. 

  • Stand tall and fold your hands together behind your back.
  • Keep your arms straight.
  • Slowly raise your head until you feel a stretch in your shoulder and chest muscles. 
  • Hold for 5 seconds, then release.
  • Repeat this stretch 5 times, breathing deeply through the stretch. 

Supine “T”

This stretch opens up tight pectoral muscles helping to keep your shoulders from rounding forward.

  • Lie on the floor, flat on your back. 
  • Bend your knees, and keep your feet flat on the floor. 
  • Stretch your arms out on each side, laying them flat on the floor with your palms facing up. Your body should form a “T” in this position. 
  • Slowly reach outward with your arms until you feel a stretch in your chest. 
  • Do this daily. 

Shoulder Lifts

Shoulder lifts help to support proper posture and positioning in your shoulders and neck. 

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift your shoulders upwards towards your ears as you inhale.
  • Roll your shoulders back down to the starting position as you exhale. 
  • Repeat this motion 8-10 times, breathing deeply with each repetition. 

Arm Circles

Often used in warm-ups for exercise programs, arm circles can open up tight chest muscles, loosen up tight shoulder muscles, and improve circulation to these areas.

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your sides. 
  • Raise your arms making a “T” shape with your body.
  • Move your arms in small circles clockwise 20 times.
  • After 20 repetitions, simply change directions, moving your arms in small counterclockwise circles 20 times. 

Goalpost Stretch

This stretch opens up your chest muscles and strengthens the muscles in your shoulder blades, supporting a natural positioning of the shoulders. 

  • Sit upright in a chair.
  • Lift your arms into a “goal post” position with your forearms and hands facing upward. 
  • Your elbows should be even with your shoulders, bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Relax the muscles in your shoulder, pulling your elbows backward. 
  • Squeeze the muscles in your upper back, pretending you’re clenching a piece of paper between your shoulder blades. 
  • Hold for a few seconds, then release.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Wall Stands

This simple stretch can both open up tight chest muscles and put your shoulders in proper alignment, preventing them from hunching over.

  • Stand with your feet, back, butt, arms, and head completely against a wall. 
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, and broaden your shoulders, ensuring a stretch in your chest and shoulder area. 
  • Hold for at least 20 seconds, then allow your body to relax. 
  • Repeat 5 times.

Exercises

While stretching opens up and loosens muscles that can become tight from inactivity and improper posture and alignment, exercise strengthens these muscles. 

If you’re at a desk looking down at your computer throughout the day, this position pulls your shoulders and neck forward. 

Strengthening the above-mentioned muscles supports proper shoulder positioning thus keeping them from rounding forward. 

Shoulder Extensions

Looking down at a phone or sitting in front of a computer for an extended period of time can tighten chest muscles. This, in turn, causes tightening in the shoulders and poor posture. 

Shoulder extensions are considered the best exercises to correct the rounding of the shoulders resulting from poor posture.

  • In front of a sturdy table, in a split-stance position, stand with your right leg in front of your left leg. 
  • Tighten your core, and bending at the hip, reach forward with your right arm, placing it on the table. Do not arch your back, keep it in a neutral position.
  • With a dumbbell in your left hand, allow your left arm to hang perpendicular to the floor. 
  • Keep your arm close to your body and your elbow straight.
  • Extend your left arm backward, raising it level with your hip, and hold at the hip level for a few seconds. 
  • Slowly lower your left arm back to where it is hanging perpendicular with the floor once again. 
  • Repeat this motion for 10-12 repetitions, then switch to your right arm.

Superman

This exercise is also considered highly effective in correcting the hunching and rounding of the shoulders.

  • Lay face down, flat on the floor (preferably on a mat) with your arms extended straight out in front of you. 
  • Be sure to keep your neck in a neutral position. 
  • Tighten your core to support your back as you do this exercise. 
  • Simultaneously slowly raise your chest, arms, and legs off of the floor. As you do this, you are extending your spine, facilitating the raising of your chest.
  • Essentially you are forming a stretched-out “U” with your body. 
  • Hold this position for several seconds, then slowly lower your chest, arms, and legs back to the floor. 
  • Rest for a few seconds, then repeat this sequence for 10-12 repetitions.
  • Over time, you should be able to work up to having your arms and legs several inches off of the floor.

Side Planks

Side planks strengthen the muscles in your obliques, shoulders, hips, chest and low back. Keeping your lower back strengthened helps maintain proper alignment of the spine. 

This facilitates good posture and helps to…you guessed it…prevent hunching of the shoulders. 

Left: 

  • Lie on your left side with your left elbow directly under your left shoulder. 
  • Engage your abdominal muscles and lift your hips. As you do this, your left elbow and feet should be all that remain on the ground. 
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds. 

Right:

  • Lie on your right side with your right elbow directly under your right shoulder. 
  • Engage your abdominal muscles and lift your hips. As you do this, your right elbow and feet should be all that remain on the ground. 
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds. 

**Try to build up to holding this position for 2 minutes per side. 

Reverse Flies 

Reverse flies help to strengthen your upper back muscles which help balance shoulder strength and protect your shoulders from injury. 

  • Stand with your knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand. 
  • Bend forward from your hips, and allow your arms to hang down near your calves. Be careful not to arch or hunch your back, and keep a slight bend in your elbow. 
  • Slowly raise the dumbbells until your elbows (still slightly bent) are in line with your shoulders. 
  • Hold briefly, then lower to the starting position. (arms near your calves)
  • You should feel tension in your shoulders and across the upper area of your back during this exercise as you are using your back muscles to control the motion of the weights throughout this movement. 
  • Repeat for 12-15 repetitions. 

Rowing 

When you spend your days hunched over at a desk, the muscles in your back can become weakened as well. 

Rowing exercises strengthen those muscles, facilitating proper alignment of your back, neck, and shoulders. 

And, you don’t need a rowing machine to do this type of exercise. 

To do rowing exercises from the comfort of your home (with a resistance band):

  • Sit on the floor in front of a sturdy table, with your legs in front of you, and your knees bent.
  • Holding each end of the resistance band with your palms facing inward, place it around one leg of the table. 
  • Tighten your core, and as you exhale, pull the band back slowly, keeping your elbows close to your side, until your hands are over your thighs. Keep your back in a neutral position during this motion.
  • Pause briefly, then inhale for 3 seconds extending your arms slowly (keeping your grip on the band). 
  • Continue this motion back and forth for 12-15 repetitions. 

Wall Angels

Wall Angels strengthen muscles that help keep your shoulders pulled back, helping them to resist the tendency to hunch forward and remain in proper alignment. 

  • Stand with your back against a sturdy wall, and spread your arms out against that wall.
  • Turn your hands so that the backsides of both hands are also against the wall. 
  • Bend your elbows and raise your forearms along the wall. 
  • Slowly move them up the wall over your head. Be careful to always keep the back of your hands and your elbows against the wall. 
  • Briefly pause at the top, then lower your arms in the same manner. 
  • Only go as high or low as you are able to without having to move your arms away from the wall. 
  • Continue this motion for 10-12 repetitions. 

Thoracic Bridge

The thoracic bridge helps to strengthen your hips, back, and shoulders. It promotes proper posture, facilitates a healthy spine, and thus helps to prevent injury to the back and shoulders. 

The following video explains how to safely do the thoracic bridge:

A Few More Tips

While stretching and exercises are needed to both reverse and prevent hunched or rounded shoulders, consider the following tips to aid in proper posture while working at your desk or computer.

  • Be conscious of your posture, and sit up straight (don’t slouch).
  • Be sure that the positioning of your computer or laptop facilitates proper posture as well.
  • Get a good office or desk chair that supports your lumbar spine. 
  • Get adequate exercise. Your job already requires a large amount of inactivity, so help tight muscles and joints out by moving them. Shoot for roughly 30 minutes of exercise daily.

Most importantly, incorporate frequent “movement breaks.” Get up and move around at least once an hour if not more. 

To your health!

–The Natural Healthy News Crew

P.S. Did you know that the best fat-burning workouts only take 9 minutes? 

It’s true. All you have to do is follow along with this free bodyweight workout 3X weekly (no equipment needed–basic & advanced videos available).

References:

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HEALTH

Exploring the Role of the Health Belief Model in Preventative Health Behaviors

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Preventative health behaviors are essential for maintaining overall well-being and preventing the onset of various illnesses and diseases. One model that has been widely used to explain and promote these behaviors is the Health Belief Model (HBM). The HBM is a psychological model that was originally developed in the 1950s by social psychologists Hochbaum, Rosenstock, and Kegels. It aims to explain and predict health behaviors by taking into account individual beliefs and perceptions.

The HBM is based on the premise that individuals are more likely to take action to prevent or control a health issue if they believe that they are susceptible to the issue, that it is severe, that taking action will be beneficial, and that they are capable of taking the necessary steps. These four key elements are known as perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, and perceived barriers, respectively.

Perceived susceptibility refers to an individual’s belief about their personal risk of developing a particular health issue. For example, someone who believes that they are at high risk of developing heart disease may be more likely to engage in preventative behaviors such as exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.

Perceived severity is the individual’s belief about the seriousness of the health issue. If someone believes that the consequences of not taking action to prevent a particular health issue are severe, they may be more motivated to engage in preventative behaviors.

Perceived benefits refer to the individual’s belief that taking action to prevent or control the health issue will be effective in reducing the risk. If someone believes that exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet will help to lower their risk of developing heart disease, they may be more likely to engage in these behaviors.

Perceived barriers are the obstacles that may prevent an individual from taking action to prevent or control a health issue. These barriers may be financial, logistical, or psychological. For example, someone may be deterred from exercising regularly due to a lack of time or access to a gym.

The HBM has been applied to a wide range of preventative health behaviors, including cancer screenings, vaccinations, and healthy lifestyle choices. Research has shown that individuals who have higher levels of perceived susceptibility, severity, benefits, and lower levels of barriers are more likely to engage in preventative health behaviors.

Healthcare providers and public health professionals can use the HBM to design interventions and communication strategies that promote preventative health behaviors. By addressing and changing individuals’ beliefs and perceptions, these interventions can help to increase motivation and enable people to take action to protect their health.

In conclusion, the Health Belief Model is a valuable framework for understanding and promoting preventative health behaviors. By considering individuals’ beliefs and perceptions about their health, healthcare providers can design effective interventions that motivate and empower people to take control of their well-being. The HBM plays a crucial role in shaping public health strategies and encouraging individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent the onset of diseases and illnesses.

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HEALTH

How to Perform CPR Fast and Effectively

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(NaturalHealthyNews.com) – EVERYONE HAS SEEN THE tense moments in movies where someone collapses, and someone else dashes to the scene to begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

One crucial action, such as retrieving an automated external defibrillator (AED), can make the difference between life and death. This action is typically not given much emphasis.

Follow these life-saving steps immediately:

Step 1: Check the Scene

Check to see if the person is alright by tapping them and asking if there are any chemical spills or downed electrical lines.

Step 2: Check for Breathing

Proceed to the next step immediately if they are not breathing or are only sometimes gasping for air.

Step 3: Call 911 and Grab the AED

Tell anyone close to perform these actions so that you can start CPR. Gordon Tomaselli, M.D., a former president of the American Heart Association, advises skipping the AED and beginning compressions as soon as possible if you have to search for the device that shocks the heart back into rhythm.

Step 4: Start CPR

Use the AED first if it’s nearby: When an AED shock is administered within the first minute of a cardiac arrest, nine out of ten victims survive. Perform chest compressions until aid comes if an AED is not available.

Compressions can increase the chances of survival by two or three times if performed in the first few minutes after cardiac arrest.

How to Do Chest Compressions: Place the heel of one hand in the center of the chest, precisely at the nipple line, while kneeling next to the individual to perform chest compressions.

Put the other one on top of the initial one. Put your fingers together. Locked elbows, apply force quickly. Compress between 100 and 120 times per minute; this is the beat of “Stayin’ Alive.”

Each time, delve two inches deeper.

Step 5: Follow the AED’s Instructions

The AED’s audio instructions walk you through every stage of using it after you turn it on. All you have to do is listen and answer. The instructions will tell you how to position the electrode pads and whether you should click the button to shock someone.

They also recommend restarting CPR if a shock is ineffective.

Step 6: Continue CPR

Hands-only CPR is equally successful in the initial minutes following cardiac arrest in adults and teenagers as it is when combined with rescue breathing.

Continue until your breathing returns, assistance comes, or you cannot continue.

If you are faced with a situation where someone near you requires CPR, follow the step-by-step guide below to potentially save a life.

Copyright 2024. NaturalHealthyNews.com

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HEALTH

Your 4-Week Plan for Better Mental Wellness

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(NaturalHealthyNews.com) – Everything in your day to day and your life is impacted by your mental health. There are other options outside therapy, medication, and even meditation to maximize it.

You can do many little things to improve your mental health, remove obstacles in your path, and achieve your life goals.

Being happy with your mental health does not imply that you never experience terrible days. It means you can handle those days with more extraordinary fortitude and less effort.

And perhaps you can figure out how to prepare yourself for even fewer of them down the road.

This four-week strategy helps you do things differently, think outside the box, overcome obstacles, and feel joy and amazement. In essence, it improves your mental health.

Week 1: Take a Breather

Day 1: Pause for a Minute

Take a moment to ground yourself by noticing 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, and 1 you can taste.

Day 2: Focus on Your Breath

Practice 4-7-8 breathing: inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. Repeat a few times to relax.

Day 3: Let Your Mind Wander

Sit quietly without distractions, allowing your mind to relax and think positively, boosting creativity and mood.

Day 4: Embrace JOMO

Limit social media use and enjoy the joy of missing out (JOMO). Focus on what matters to you rather than online content.

Day 5: Get Some Rest

Prioritize sleep by setting a bedtime, keeping your room cool, and avoiding screens before bed.

Week 2: Ask a Question a Day

Day 1: What’s Going Well?

Focus on what’s working well to boost positivity and well-being.

Day 2: How Will This Decision Affect Me?

Consider the short-, medium-, and long-term consequences of your decisions to reduce anxiety.

Day 3: How Am I Feeling Right Now, Really?

Identify and understand your genuine emotions without labeling them as good or bad.

Day 4: What’s Possible Today?

Adapt to daily challenges by asking what’s achievable rather than striving for perfection.

Day 5: What Can I Let Go Of?

Identify and start letting go of negative self-talk or unhealthy relationships.

Week 3: Fuel Your Mood with Food

Day 1: Eat a Day’s Worth of Greens in One Meal

Incorporate two cups of leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, into your diet for mental and physical benefits.

Day 2: Sample the Rainbow

Eat various colorful fruits and vegetables to boost optimism and reduce stress.

Day 3: Dive Into Seafood

Include fatty fish like salmon for omega-3s and vitamin D, which support brain health.

Day 4: Shift Your Snacks

Choose nuts like almonds or walnuts to nourish your brain with essential nutrients.

Day 5: Add Friends

Share meals with friends to enhance mental wellness through social connections.

Week 4: Use These Mind Hacks

Day 1: Embrace Uncertainty

Accepting what you can’t control helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Day 2: Plan for Hurdles

Prepare for daily challenges to stay balanced and resilient.

Day 3: Change Your Language

Reframe negative emotions by noting them as feelings rather than defining yourself by them.

Day 4: Balance Your Negativity with Positivity

Counter negative thoughts with positive ones to improve mental well-being.

Day 5: Be Amazed

Experience awe through nature, art, or inspiring talks to boost creativity and mood.

Mental health impacts how we think, behave, and feel. It’s closely tied to physical health, and nearly everyone faces mental health challenges at some point.

This 30-day plan offers simple daily changes to help reduce stress and anxiety, enhancing mental well-being and resilience.

Copyright 2024. NaturalHealthyNews.com

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