Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope my physical therapy videos for common injuries and syndromes will help put you on the road to recovery. If you have a question, just ask! Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Neck Spasm Stretches

Neck spasms can be very painful and cause many other problems, so help relieve the pain caused by neck spasms with these easy stretches. The key is to stretch the muscles, but not overstretch them. Over stretching will make them more irritated.
Start off sitting in a chair. Place your hands behind your head in the curve of your neck. Bend your neck forward, and use your arms to help rotate your neck from side to side. Try to just rotate your neck and not your whole body. You can either rotate back and forth 10-15 times, or hold each way for 3-5 seconds doing about 5 on each side.
Next, place your hands slightly higher, on your head, not your neck. Now side bend your neck from side to side. Again, try to just side bend your neck and not your whole body, but your upper body will move slightly. You can either side bend back and forth 10-15 times, or hold each way for 3-5 seconds doing about 5 on each side.
For the final stretch, you will need a long towel. Place the towel around your neck where it is hanging down on each side. Here comes the tricky part. Grab one side with the opposite hand, and pull downwards. At the same time, take the other side with the opposite hand, placing the towel at a slight angle over your ear and cheek area, and pull upwards at an angle, about 30 degrees, towards the ceiling away from you. Don’t choke yourself! The towel should not actually be on your neck. It is helping rotate your head to the side. Hold these for about 15-20 seconds, and do 3-5 on each side.

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Upper Back Pain Stretches & Exercises

Here is another edition to my upper back pain stretching and strengthening exercises. I have a video for Ys, Ts, Is, and Ws on a swiss ball, but if you don't have a swiss ball, these will hopefully help.
The first stretch is for your thoracic area. Sitting in a chair that has a medium back height, put your hands behind your head, and lean back over the backrest of the chair. Relax if you can and hold it for 30 seconds; repeat 3 times.
Next, you want to stretch your pectoralis muscles. If you have a foam roll, this will work best for the stretch. Lie down on the foam roll where it is directly on your spine and your head is supported. Now rest your elbows on the floor out to the side. If that is not enough stretch, you can straighten your arms out and rest them on the floor. If that is still not enough stretch, place your hands behind your head, and press your elbows downward. Hold for 30 seconds and do them 3 times.  
Now roll onto your stomach. Roll up a towel and place it under your forehead for comfort. Now put your arms straight out to the sides like you are making a T with your body. Gently raise your arms towards the ceiling, and try to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Your arms don't have to go high, but they do need to be controlled. Hold them for about 2-3 seconds and do about 10-15.
Roll back onto your back for "snow angels." This exercise was shown to me from my PT friend Phil who helped me rehab from my shoulder surgery. Put your arms flat on the ground into a slight stop sign position or like you are getting ready to make a snow angel. You can bend your knees your put your legs out straight, but bending the knees will help support your back. Now slowly slide your arms upwards, and try to keep your elbow and arms flat on the ground. Once they start coming up, then slide them back down. You only need to do about 10 of these with 2 sets.
The next stretch is going to be in long sitting where your legs are straight out in front of you. Clasp your hands together directly in front of you, and punch forward while your are curling your back forward and bringing your chin to your chest. You want to have a curl in your back. Hold this for 30 seconds and do 3 times.
The last exercise is "bird dogs." This is done on all fours or in quadruped.  Try to keep your back straight like a tabletop, and try to keep your neck in a neutral position so you don't strain anything. Now lift one arm up and bring it straight forward. At the same time, lift the opposite leg straight out. Alternate your arms and legs, doing 5-10 on each side.

Calf Strengthening Exercises

If you have weak calf muscles, or gastrocnemius muscles, due to surgery or an injury (or if you just have chicken legs like me!), then these calf exercises should help make them stronger.
The first exercise is a heel raise off the ground. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, come up on your toes as high as you can. Try not to lean forward, but bring your body straight up and down. Push off as much as you can so your heel leaves the ground. If that is easy, then you can do one at a time. Again, try not to lean forward or pull yourself up. If you can't go up without using your arms, then you are not quite ready for one foot at a time.
If that gets pretty easy, then you can find a step to get a longer range of motion in your exercise. Put the balls of your feet on the edge of the step, but make sure you are not going to slip off. Drop your heels down as far as they will go without slipping off, and then push up as far as you can upwards. Go slow with this motion up and down for control. Again, try to go straight up and down. If you are leaning forward or pulling yourself up, you are not quite ready for the step. Once you master the control, you can go faster, but try not to use momentum, make your muscles do the work. If that becomes easy, then you can do this with one foot.
Finally, you can walk up on your toes for a dynamic movement exercise. Try to stay up on your toes the whole time you are walking. If you can't keep your heels off the ground, then you are not quite ready for it.