Stiff Back and Neck

I was chatting earlier today with Maribel’s nephew, Daniel, about how he’s implementing a version of the density program for healthy shoulders I shared in this post.

He’s had his own history of shoulder issues and wanted to ask a few questions about customizing the plan for himself. At one point in our conversation he mentioned how he feels like his upper back and shoulders can get a bit stiff at times.

This was worth noting for 2 reasons:

  1. With the amount of horizontal pulling that occurs in the density program his back is likely to get even stiffer.
  2. He’s beginning pilot school with the Air Force in the next month or so and that can be brutal on your back, shoulders and neck.

I know about the second part because my good buddy Brian, whom I’ve known since kindergarten, has been flying an F16 for the past 10 or 11 years. He’s described to me how he sits in a small cockpit for many hours on end, wearing a helmet, twisting his head around in screwy ways for visibility while pulling multiple G’s.

I can feel pretty crappy after a long drive or sitting at the computer for awhile, but I’m sure that’s nothing compared to what our pilots go through.

So I decided to put together a list of my favorite soft tissue work, joint mobilizations and stretches for a stiff neck and back.

I’m recommending that Daniel try each one out and put together a little self-care maintenance routine for himself as he begins his career so he doesn’t feel like an old man before 30.

I’ll share this with my buddy Brian too.

Why don’t you give them a try as well. It’s amazing how good you can feel within 5 minutes just by freeing up the spine.

The order I lay them out here is the order I suggest doing them in. There’s a lot here, so it may take you 2 or 3 sessions to go through them all.

Keep the ones you loved, ditch the rest.

Preventing Stiff Back and Neck

By playing with how much you bend or straighten your back in the above stretch you can hit different areas. Play with it.

Once you tried some of these, let me know which is your favorite. Have a back or neck muscle that often gets tight but I missed it? Tell me in the comments and I’ll get it in here.