Over the last few months many of us have suffered from a lack of exercise because of Japan’s “Stay Home” request. Besides going out for groceries, you might not have moved around much during the day, spending countless hours sitting in front of your computer or TV. And although Japan has lifted its state of emergency, many continue to work from home.

So, whatever your situation may be, if you suffer from stiff shoulders, we want to introduce a quick and easy stretch you can do throughout the day to ease your pain and stay loose.

Advice from a Licensed Professional

Kazuya Sakoda runs a chiropractic clinic in Kanagawa Prefecture, 整体院 和-Kazu or Seitaiin Kazu, and also hosts a YouTube channel where he offers his professional advice on how to relieve bodily stiffness and pain. He not only explains the causes, but also gives quick solutions, such as today’s stretch.

Kazuya’s One-Minute Fix for Stiff Shoulders

In the following video, Kazuya talks about one cause of stiff shoulders and how to get instant relief.

If you know Japanese, great! If you don’t, you can probably figure out how to perform the stretches he advises just from watching the video. Otherwise, read below for an English translation.

Kazuya first explains that the root of stiff shoulders is actually due to the shoulder blades.

The Cause of Stiff Shoulders

He says when the shoulder blades are held in an outward position, it causes the muscles connecting the neck and shoulder blade to stretch, creating tension in the shoulders.

Massaging the shoulders and back of the neck can help temporarily relieve the tension on the muscles. However, this does not treat the root cause, that being the poor position of the shoulder blades.

He warns that massaging the tense muscles alone can make them stretch further, resulting in more pain.

Two Stretches to Treat the Root Cause

Kazuya suggests two movements to stretch the shoulder blade and chest muscles. Each one can be held for 30 seconds.

Shoulder Stretch

  • First, face a wall, standing about one foot away.
  • Second, press the pinky-side of your hand against the wall, letting your elbow bend slightly.
  • With your head pointing upwards, lower your body, pressing your hand and forearm against the wall.
  • Breathe deeply through the stretch for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat for the opposite arm.
  • This should lengthen the muscles located on the outside of your shoulder blade.

Chest Stretch

  • First, hold your arm out to your side at ear-height, press the pinky-side of your hand against a wall, palm facing up.
  • Second, keeping your arm held out straight, press your front torso against the wall.
  • Then, pivot the front of your body away from your arm.>
  • Breathe deeply through the stretch for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat for the opposite side.
  • This should lengthen both your chest and upper arm muscles.

With these two stretches, you lengthen chest and shoulder muscles, thereby relieving the tension of muscles connecting the neck and shoulder blade.

Did you try it out? Feels much better right? Thanks Kazuya Sensei!

By - Mujo.

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