Chronic pain affects 47 percent of Americans, but before you pop a pill to ease your discomfort, one fitness therapy expert says that some simple exercises can minimize aches and pains.
“I help people to eradicate pain, improve posture and enhance performance through a combination of yoga, conscious corrective exercise, self-care with grippy, pliable Yoga Tune Up message balls and stress reduction techniques,” said Jill Miller, a fitness therapy expert and creator of Yoga Tune Up.
If you’re stuck in front of a computer all day, chances are your neck is overstretched and putting pressure on your disks. Miller demonstrated a move designed to strengthen those muscles.
“You can take a book…and pull that block behind your head so that it sits right at the base of your skill – literally right where your skull meets your neck,” Miller explained, “and then pull your head into the block and then block into head.:
Leaning forward to type on a keyboard, carrying children or heavy purses can leave you with sore shoulders. Miller said that a stretch called “floating angel arms” are the perfect fix. Just take a towel, strap or belt, and pull it against your legs like you’re trying to break it.
"Pull the towel apart and twist your arms so that your elbows and palms face out,” Miller said. “Simultaneously while your pulling back and out, you're twisting. Hold that for about 30 seconds, and then let go – and if you did it correctly, your arms will just involuntarily rise up like a floating angel. It feels so cool.”
Miller said the back is the number one source of pain issues. To help work some of that tension out, she suggested placing a yoga block under the pelvis, planting one leg against the wall, and drawing the other knee to the chest.
"Now what happens here is that the deep, deep hip flexer called the psoas and all those other hip flexers get so tight from sitting all day long,” Miller said. “...And then straighten your leg."
For sore feet, Miller recommended using a tennis ball or her “Yoga Tune Up” balls to roll out the joints and the soft tissue.