People who sit or stand for long periods of the day may suffer from poor posture leading to an imbalance of muscle tone in the upper back and neck. This imbalance is generally characterized by tight muscles in the upper neck at the base of the skull, weak neck flexors, weak and over stretched mid back muscles, and tight chest muscles. These imbalances can lead to the visual changes such as the appearance of rounded shoulders, concave appearing chest, exaggerated forward head carriage and flattening of the lower back. Not good. If this posture continues it can lead to spinal joint dysfunction along with the chronic muscle imbalances causing tension headaches, low back pain and neck pain.
Bruegger’s Relief Exercise encourages the opposite. It stretches the supporting soft tissue of the chest and posterior upper neck as well as strengthens the posterior mid back and anterior neck muscles. This facilitates proper segmental joint function alleviating abnormal pressure on the joints within the chest, neck and back.
I found Bruegger’s Exercise to be on of the most helpful tools during my years of practice. The good news is that it is easy to use and can be done almost anywhere.
If this exercise creates pain or you have a recent injury consult your chiropractic physician or health care provider prior to performing Bruegger’s.
Here is how you perform the exercise:
Sit comfortably towards the front end of a chair.
Allow your knees to flare slightly away from your body placing your feet flat on the ground directly under your knees.
Pretend a string is attached to your sternum from the ceiling pulling straight up bringing your chest up with it.
Bring your shoulder blades back and down.
Place your palms facing forward with the thumbs pointing out away from your body.
Bring your chin straight back.
Hold for 30 seconds, perform 3 to 5 times a day to start for a few days. Then gradually increase the number of times a day you perform the exercise until you are doing it for 30 seconds every hour.
There should be no pain with the exercise, however there may be some soreness that disappears after the first week of beginning Bruegger’s Relief Exercise.
Yours In Health,
Sean Ripp, D.C.