Rounded Shoulders and Elbow Tension

Rounded Shoulders and Elbow Tension

I often observe a particular pattern of tension in nurses, mothers, and caregivers in general. It’s a pattern of being ready to help at a moment’s notice. If you have this habit, you’re likely to complain about neck and shoulder discomfort. The source, however, may be lower down in your arms…

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A Shoulder Story

A Shoulder Story

Can you see knot at the nexus of my left shoulder and neck? It’s never been especially troublesome, but it has been a long time companion.  Off and on I’m moved to investigate the tension, and my “shoulder journal”  has grown to near novella length. What follows is a recent entry. If I compare the feeling of my left arm with my right, the left one seems shrunken, shorter…

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Shoulder Pain and Sitar Playing

Shoulder Pain and Sitar Playing

Below is a video I made for one of my Skype coaching clients.  She’s a petite woman who is learning to play the sitar, a difficult and awkward instrument to tune as well as to play. I've been helping her with her sitting position, and with pain in her left shoulder that had become  severe enough for her to seek medical help. The exercise I shared in this video has helped her exchange upper shoulder tension for secure support that links her shoulders to her mid-back.  The video also includes a brief review of abdominal support and pelvic inclination. Many musicians—most anyone who plays a stringed instrument—could benefit from this exploration.  Not to mention non-musicians who simply have a habit of loading stress into the upper shoulder area…

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Guns and Shoulder Tension

Guns and Shoulder Tension

The anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT has made me think about guns and gunmen. It’s also brought to mind a client—a different sort of gunman–who wanted my advice about his chronic shoulder pain.  This man had worked for many years as a parole officer, and a requirement of his position had been a quarterly shooting evaluation. The pain in his shoulder dated back to that period in his life, and persisted despite his having been retired from law enforcement for several years…

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A Tactile Solution to Shoulder Tension

A Tactile Solution to Shoulder Tension

When you grasp a steering wheel (or anything else) tightly, you’ll feel tension generated from your hands up into your elbows, shoulders, neck and jaw.  There are direct myofascial and neural connective trains between the hands and the head. Such muscle chain engagement delimits your steering movements, dulls your perception of the road, and contributes to your aching shoulders. Notice this woman’s eye and jaw tension as well as her too tightly gripping hands…

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Skin-deep Posture and Movement

Skin-deep Posture and Movement

I recently recommended to a Skype coaching client that he read pages 131-132 in The New Rules of Posture–pages that describe what I nicknamed “skintelligence”.  One of this man’s goals was to improve his ballroom dancing. His partners had commented that they felt he was holding them rigidly, so I wanted to remind him of the surprising degree to which our tactile sense influences motor coordination.  I knew that turning on his skin could help him turn off excess muscle tension…

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Shoulder Release

Shoulder Release

This video blog shows shares a way to relieve upper shoulder and neck tension by resting your arm over a ball.  The one I used is a dryer ball, but I first learned this exercise with a tennis ball.  Any small ball that fits comfortably into your armpit will work…

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Shoulder Stretch and Release

Shoulder Stretch and Release

The video below accompanies the last several  blog entries in which I wrote about how the  “corocoid corner” affects the stability of our shoulders and arms, and about the relationship between our arms and our hearts.  The tissues that clasp the corocoid process need to be pliable in order for the upper arms to seat properly in the gleno-humeral fossa (the shoulder socket).  When pectoralis minor and biceps brachii are chronically shortened and glued down around the corocoid, the humeral heads (tops of the upper arms) slip forward in the sockets. While this capacity of the shoulder joint lets us reach out for things, the position should be part of a temporary gesture.  For stability of arm and shoulder, the humeral heads should rest back into the socket as deeply as possible. The video shows one way to open up the corocoid area…

 

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Heart Support for Heart Opening

Heart Support for Heart Opening

Consider the relationship between support and openness–how does that work in your life in general?  Think about a situation in which you were vulnerable—your metaphorical heart opened–but you lacked backing… My guess is that it wasn’t your favorite experience.

Our physical hearts, too, need support, and what I shared in the last blog about the corocoid corner can shed light on what I mean…

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Secrets of Your Shoulders

Secrets of Your Shoulders

Because I entitled this video blog “Secrets of the Shoulders”, I don’t want to just tell you what the secrets are.  Watch the video to be introduced to bits of your anatomy you may not know you have:  your corocoid processes.  You’ll find out where those are, and what you can do with them.  It’s a little tip that I’ve found useful and hope you will too.  Once you get the feeling of letting your “corocoid eyes” look forward into the world, see how it feels to walk around with that feeling…

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Shoulder Support

Shoulder Support

Thanks to my colleague and proud father, Charles, for sharing his time in the accompanying movie.  And for sharing his problem—I’m sure he’s not the only new dad who finds himself with unaccustomed aches and pains.  His problem is fairly universal too, so his  solutions can apply to your life, even if you aren’t rising to feed someone at 4 a.m.  It’s a matter of having the right support:  support from the pelvis for the spine, support from the spine for the shoulders, support from the shoulders for the hands and arms…

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How to Avoid Holiday Shoulder Tension

How to Avoid Holiday Shoulder Tension

This time of year, as many of us step onto a holiday roller coaster, tension along the tops of our shoulders becomes almost epidemic. Necks ache, shoulders are tender and the holidays begin to promise more chores than cheer.

If you’re lucky enough to have someone in your household who gives good shoulder rubs, you know that a ten minute session under those hands can give you a new lease on life. What you may not have noticed is that when you stand up after the massage, your posture is better. Not only that, but it’s easier to breathe and your holiday to-do list looks less overwhelming…

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