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Therapist TM

Whenever we spend LONG hours at work in front of our computers, we tend to strain our necks. Depending on the position and how long we keep our neck in that same position will determine where your neck will feel worse. In this article, we will talk more about Muscle Energy Technique your therapist does for you.

Imagine you’re sitting down all day with your head in a forward position straining your eyes as you peer at the screen. This will not only strain your eyes but would also tighten your neck muscles and any sudden movement can definitely trigger strain which can both hurt and affect your neck.

This is almost related to the previous article I shared with you about stretching your muscles to help ease the pain in your neck and back as well as in your hands and arms, but this time, we’ll focus on the neck area and how you can do the simple neck stretching and exercises to make sure that you prevent misaligning and straining your neck while working from home.

There are a lot of exercises that you can do at home for your neck. Depending on what exercise you do, with proper procedures and movements, you would be able to loosen those tight neck muscles and improve your neck position and posture.

And there are just simple exercises that you can do within a few minutes during your break or before you get back to working on your computer again.  Watch the video.

For this purpose, I’m going to share with you ‘one of the BEST’ options and that is using muscle energy techniques!! These are easy ways to self treat to relieve neck pain, balance straining neck muscles, and improve your neck position.

More about Muscle Energy Technique

So what do I mean by Muscle Energy Technique your therapist does for you?

Muscle Energy Techniques (METs) are used by physical therapists, manual therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors, massage therapists, and even osteopathic physicians for the purpose of improving the state of musculoskeletal functions or even joint functions of the body to improve posture, loosen muscle and joint tension as well as relieve pain.

MET’s work by carefully positioning a specific area in our body and resisting movement or contracting your muscles followed by stretching your muscles to loosen and lengthen your target or opposite muscle group. This technique is usually applied to your body by licensed professionals, therapists, physicians, and should not be practiced at home without consulting your therapist or physician.

However, there are a few simple exercises from METs that you can actually try and do in the comfort of your home while working and sitting in your home office.

How to align and loosen your neck muscles

Here are the steps that you should do to align and loosen up your neck muscles.

  1. While sitting down, drop your head and tuck your chin close to your chest. 
  2. Placing your hands on the back of your head to add a gentle weight will give traction to the back of the neck. 
  3. Hold your head down in place with your hands while inhaling for the count of 10. (What’s actually happening at this moment is that you’re contracting the muscles in your neck.) Remove your hand and slowly relax and breathe out.
  4. Take the pressure off after those 10 counts and bring it back to upright for 2-3 inhalations. 
  5. Repeat this process 2 more times and take the opportunity to really enjoy the feeling of muscle contraction in your neck as you press into your hands and the sensation of relaxation as it slowly loosens up. 
  6. Doing this will help stretch those irritated neck muscles as a muscle in an isometric contraction usually lengthens once OFFLOAD. This one works well with your trapezius and your mid-back. 

This gentle yet simple application of a neck MET is one that you can definitely do without the supervision of your physical therapist. You can do these every day before working or even while you’re working or taking your break. BUT if you do have a pre-existing injury, disc bulge issues, nerve pain, or unstable/recent bony fracture then make sure you get the TICK of approval from your clinician of choice.

Well, that’s just about it. I hope you learned a lot and enjoyed our topic for today. Let me know what you think in the comments below.