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Spine Resource Clinic            Recommended for Upper Back and Neck Problems 
 
 
 
PHASE II - NECK & UPPER BACK MUSCLE CONDITIONING 
 
Gaining general staminal (Phase I) is the all parts of the Spine including the Neck. 
 
  This exercise is usually started after you have been building general stamina for at least 4 weeks at your target heart rate for 30 minutes, 5 days per week.  We my start you earlier if you are making good progress on the General Stamina Program.  Do not discontinue the stamina training at this point, but continue 5 days a week for 6 consecutive weeks. Then you may only need 2-3 sessions per week to maintain your stamina. 
 
The Second Phase is to condition protective muscles in the Upper Back and Neck. 
 
  Arm circles can be progressively used to tone the protective muscles around the upper back and neck area.  The can be very vigorous so we start with activity to assure the tolerance of  the shoulder muscles before working on the back and neck muscles (see figure 1).   
Figure 1 
  Arm circles should be done in the following manner so as not to cause any shoulder irritation.  (Please ask us for another demonstration if you are not clear about what to do)  Hold your arms slightly forward and at about shoulder level.  As you bring your fists closer together then further apart you will notice the natural low point for your shoulder (where your shoulder will be least stressed as you exercise).  Usually your fists are not straight ahead or straight out to the side but about 1/3 to 1/2 way away from straight ahead.  Do not do the circles with your hands above your shoulder level.  Begin by doing 35-50 circles at medium speed with your fist making a circle about the size of a dinner plate.  First make circles in one direction then reverse the circles and do the same number in the opposite direction. 
 
  At first fatigue will come early.  As you build endurance you will be able to accomplish greater numbers until you can do it 100 revolutions in each direction without stopping. 
 
  When you are able to do 100 forward and 100 backward circles without stopping you have achieved your goal and can now begin to condition the upper back and neck muscles by making the 200 circles (100 each way) as fast as you can.  The faster you do the circles the more your neck and upper back muscles need to stabilize the shoulders to become conditioned similar to how a birdís spinal muscles are conditioning from flying.  
 
IMPORTANT:  To really build stamina for protective muscle you must add speed and in some instances hold light weights in your hands.  It is safest to start with small cans of tuna and gradually work up to via small soup cans, to vegetable cans and even pears.  The added weight recruits more spine muscles to stabilize the soulders.    
 
  Usually it takes about 45 seconds to do your 200 circles each day after you begin doing them as fast as possible. 
 
© If reproduced, no alterations without the written permission of Stanley J. Bigos,MD 
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