May we wish all our members and readers a Happy Easter. Whilst this is not the best of times, we can enjoy the sunshine and spending time with our families.
More from Annabel Wallis MBE, this one is at the special request of Tania. Many thanks to Annabel for thinking about our physical health.
Neck and Shoulder exercises for the ADI
Neck, shoulder and back pain seem to be an occupational hazard for ADI’s, as we often have to react quickly in our field of work! Some car seats offer no lumbar support and poor seat positioning and being ready to pounce on those foot and hand controls can contribute to much discomfort. Many car seats are made to sit lower and tip back which places strain on your hamstrings. This makes your pelvis roll backwards by sliding forward on the seat and puts additional strain on your neck, forcing you to hold your neck forward 20 degrees, in order to look straight at the road. In addition, long periods of driving in our roles, also places extra strain on your vertebrae and discs.
If your seat is too far from the pedals your back can be strained to reach them. Dueling the car can put extra strain on your lumbar discs. We all know our Cockpit drill and how to adjust the seat, remembering that the back rest is supposed to have an inclination of 5-10 degrees. Top tip: – Try to keep your back pockets empty as this that can also take your back out of alignment.
In between lessons, get into the habit of walking around the car for a few minutes and doing some stretching. Try not to jump across to change seats! The following exercises may help ease the tension and of the neck and shoulders.
(Please note: – all these exercises should be pain free and shouldn’t be carried out with people who have injuries to that specific area). Also, make sure to stop doing any exercise or stretch if it causes pain and do see a doctor if you have persisting or severe neck pain.
Lift the top of your shoulders as close to your ears as you can get. You should feel tension in your shoulders and neck. Hold the lift for 3 – 5 seconds and then drop your shoulders back down. Repeat 3 times.
Sit upright and look forward. Slowly turn your chin towards your right shoulder until you feel the left side of your neck stretching. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Move your chin back to the centre and repeat on the other side. Repeat x 2.
Look straight ahead with your neck straight. Start by slowly tilting your head to the left side and holding it in that position for up to 10 seconds. This will assist relieving neck muscle tension on the right side. Then try tilting your head to the right side for the same amount of time for relief on your left side. You should repeat this stretch several times over, tilting your head forward and backward between sides as well.
Back and Neck
Start in a standing position with the palms of your hand on your lower back. Then, use your palms to push your back forwards. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat x 2.
Raise your right arm straight up and then bend it. Use your left hand to gently push down on your right elbow, down toward your shoulder blade. Hold the position for 10 – 15 seconds and then repeat for the other side.
Keep your hips facing forward during this exercise. Allow the twist to start in your lower back. Sit in a chair with your ankles directly under your knees. Twist your upper body to the right, bringing the back of your left hand to your thigh. Place your right hand down wherever it’s comfortable. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Repeat on the left side. Do each side 3 – 5 times.
Doorway Shoulder Stretch
Stand in a doorway with your elbows and arms forming a 90-degree angle. Step your right foot forward as you press your palms into the sides of the door frame. Lean forward and engage your core. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch with your left foot forward. Do each side 2- 3 times.
Threading the needle
Start on your hands and knees. Lift your right hand up toward the ceiling with your palm facing away from your body. Lower your arm to bring it under your chest and over to the left side of your body with your palm facing up. Activate your right shoulder and arm to avoid collapsing into this area. Keep your left hand on the floor for support, lift it toward the ceiling, or bring it around to the inside of your right thigh. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds. Relax in Child’s Pose before repeating this stretch on the left side.
This exercise is good for warming up your shoulder joints and increasing flexibility. Stand with your left hand on the back of a chair. Allow your right hand to hang down. Circle your right hand 5 times in each direction. Repeat on the opposite side. Do this 2 – 3 times per day.
Eagle Arms Spinal rolls
While seated, extend your arms out to the sides. Cross your elbows in front of your body with your right arm on top. Bend your elbows, placing the backs of your forearms and hands together. Reach your right hand around to bring your palms together. Hold this position for 15 seconds. On an exhale, roll your spine as your draw your elbows in toward your chest. On an inhale, open your chest and lift your arms. Continue this movement for 1 minute. Repeat on the opposite side.
We do put undue stress on our neck, shoulder, arms core etc. in our roles. Arms and shoulder exercises can reduce tension, increase mobility, relieve pain and reduce the risk of muscle and joint injury.
Looking forward to our next ADI Pit Stop, warming up and cooling down suggested by Janet.
And how about our mental health? There’s an excellent article on How to Cope in a Crisis written by Paul McGee, otherwise known as The Sumo Guy. He is an inspirational speaker and if you look at his website you will see the type of people and companies he has helped to inspire including critical care NHS nurses. This recent email can be shared. We are passing it on and hope you will enjoy reading it.
Paul also has a book entitled How Not to Worry that he’s made available FREE from the Kindle store. You can find it with this link.
Whilst our newsflashes are normally a benefit of membership of the ADINJC, during this national emergency we want to share information as widely as possible, so please feel free to pass this on. We are stronger together.
The NJC continues to be dedicated to help you in these challenging times and we hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy. Please feel free to contact us for help and support.
ADINJC’s helpline is 0800 8202 444
The Secretary’s number is 07855 453414
You can find the latest NASP guidelines on Coronavirus here.
HMRC Helpline: 0800 0159 559
Citizens Advice Bureau – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you/
You can sign up to receive Government updates on Coronavirus relating to driving tests here.
The ADINJC is a national association run by ADIs on a not-for-profit basis. We work tirelessly to inform, represent and support our members, and to promote the interests of our profession.