Shoulder & Neck Self Care Routine For Hikers
In this shoulder and neck self care routine for hikers, I’ll give you some quick ways to find relief from headaches and shoulder pain. Using items that you have handy, you can massage, stretch, and improve your comfort while hiking. Self care for your shoulder and neck is critical! This mini shoulder and neck self care routine for hikers is from my more comprehensive self care program.
When you are hiking, it’s often helpful to have a map, so you know where to go. The map can also outline the features and give you a good picture of the landscape looks like. For this shoulder and neck self care routine, I give you the same map with a quick tour of these regions. This will help you see the landscape of your body a little differently and make the techniques flow much smoother.
Simple and effective
Targeting the smaller pec muscle using a trekking pole, you can work out some of the tightness that can lead to other issues like headaches. Extend your trekking pole and find the space between the center of your chest and shoulder (see video). With this small pec muscle location found, place the handle of the trekking pole on the muscle and let your body weight settle in on the right pressure for you. Once in place and the pressure set, begin by moving the arm forward, backward, and out to the side. Look for that “hurt good” level of discomfort for the best results.
Next is the upper shoulder trekking pole massage. This massage will target two muscles that can lead to headaches and is easy to do. Using your trekking pole, you are going to glide it through the upper shoulder area, applying appropriate pressure. Massage in this way is perfect for providing yourself with some self care after a day hauling a heavy pack. Give it a try!
Strengthen and stretch for comfort
No shoulder and neck self care routine would be complete without adding some strength exercises. Here are some of my favorites.
First up is the trekking pole pass-thru stretch; you can also use a branch for this one, or even a belt or strap of some sort. To start, extend your trekking pole out as far as it will go. Place your hands on each end with a wide grip that will allow you to raise the trekking pole over your head and back down to your body behind you. This stretch will feel great on the tight muscles found on the chest.
Looking at the big picture, posture is pretty essential. Strive to keep your ears above your shoulders and chest up. You’ll notice as you tire that your head will creep forward beyond the shoulders. Poor posture will place strain on your shoulder muscles and likely lead to headaches. This one takes some practice but is a crucial take-a-way for all hikers.
Exercises are plentiful here. Using the floor press or incline bench press will be more friendly to shoulders that don’t care for regular bench pressing. These are great alternatives if you struggle with push-ups or have pain with a regular bench press.
There are no exercises for the neck specifically. The reason for that is many of the shoulder muscles connect to the neck. Dial-in your posture and work the shoulders, and your neck will be pretty stable.
Shoulder & neck self care routine for hikers, there it is! Don’t forget to check out my comprehensive “Self Care Program For Hikers” for more anatomy, techniques, stretches, and exercises to keep you hiking happy.