The clavicle is commonly known as the collarbone. It is an important section of the human shoulder girdle. It connects the deltoids with the pectoralis major. Simply speaking, the clavicle consists of delicate joints that connect the neck, shoulder, chest, and the upper neck to each other. The clavicle is the stabilizing bone in the human skeletal system. It helps to make the shoulder muscles stronger. Constant standing and sitting can make the connective tissues and the muscles of the region stiff. This is why these tissues and muscles must be stretched from time to time.(1) Such clavicle stretches will include the working out of the deltoids and the pectoralis muscles – neck rotation, chest stretch, and lateral neck bend. Pain in the clavicle area can be prevented through the clavicle stretches.(2)
Clavicle Stretches: 6 Useful Exercises to Stretch the Clavicle
Working out and stretching your clavicle can reduce your stress and tension level. It can improve the blood circulation to the muscles in the region and improve their flexibility. However, doing the right postures correctly is imperative for the best results. Warm-up exercises like light jogging must be done before the actual set of workouts.
Let us take a look at some of the clavicle stretches.(3)
Shoulder Stretches for Clavicle Stretch:
These stretches can be done in any state, whether you are seated, standing, or even when bending forward. No equipment is needed for these stretches. A towel can be used as the basic prop. If you wish to stretch your clavicle completely then the two stretches that cannot be neglected are the posterior shoulder stretch and the anterior shoulder stretch. For the posterior stretch, you need to lift your right arm and hold it across your chest. The elbow of the right arm must be held with the left arm. Now the right elbow must be pushed gently into the chest till the stretch can be felt. The same action must be repeated with the left arm as well. Now for the inner stretch, you must stand up and then lift both the arms far back. This must be done until the stretch is felt. A towel can be held to enhance the effect of the stretch. Both the positions must be held for thirty seconds and then released. For each arm, the action can be repeated five to eight times and can be done thrice a week.(3,4)
These days most people spend their days being seated at their work desks glued to their computer and laptop screens. This can increase tension around the region of the neck and can cause intense pain in the area of the clavicle.(5) Neck stretches will improve the mobility of the platysma, the long neck muscle. This type of stretch will include the postures of sitting and then moving the head in all directions while being seated. To do these stretches you need to sit with your back straight. Then the head must be lowered gently backward and you must lookup. This must be done until there is a pain-free stretch. For the rotation, while being seated you must sit with your back and neck straight. Next, you must turn your head so that the chin touches the left shoulder. At this stage, you will feel a mild stretch. The same action must be repeated on the right side. It can be done for a repetition of ten times every two days.(3)
Back Stretches for Clavicle Stretches:
Your clavicle and shoulder blades are joined by the back muscles. They provide strength to your shoulders and also prevent back pain which generates out of tension in the muscles. The back stretches target the muscles of latissimus dorsi and the rhomboids that provides greater strength to your upper back. To do this exercise, you must place your hands at the back of your head and then move the elbows in the backward direction. Continue till you feel the stretch. Hold the position for thirty seconds and then release it. Repeat three times. For a lower back stretch, you must lie down. Bend the knees and place them flat on the ground. The knees must be swung to the sides rotating from the hips. On each side, you can repeat for ten to twenty times.(6)
Lateral Neck Bend for Stretching the Clavicle:
In this clavicle stretch, you must stand while you spread out your hands on the sides. The palms must face up. Keeping your nose pointing in the upward direction you must tilt your head to the left. Stretch your right arm a little to the back. This increases the effect of the stretch. The position must be held for five to six seconds while you breathe deeply. It must be repeated on the other side. Extra stretches must be done on the side that feels a little extra stiff. You must not shrug your shoulders while stretching.(4)
Stargazing as an Exercise for Clavicle Stretch:
In this stretch, the same position as that of lateral neck bend must be maintained. The head must be pointed up. The position must be held for six to seven deep breaths. Next, the head must be tilted to the left so that the ears are brought near the shoulder. The position must be held for eight to ten seconds and then released. The same action must be repeated for the other side as well.(3)
Ball Chest Stretch
You need a stability ball as a prop for the stretch. First, sit and then lay back on the ball. Stretch out your hands on both the sides with the palms facing up. Allow the pull of gravity to pull your hands down and then take six to seven deep breaths. You must repeat the exercise four to five times.(3,4)
The effects of these stretches can be felt after a couple of weeks of practice. For better results, you must consult a professional doctor or a physiotherapist. If you feel any sharp pain while doing the stretches you must stop immediately and seek professional help. For best results practice good sitting and sleeping postures.
- Daneshmandi H, Choobineh A, Ghaem H, Karimi M. Adverse effects of prolonged sitting behavior on the general health of office workers. Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2017;7(2):69-75.
- Ylinen J, Kautiainen H, Wirén K, Häkkinen A. Stretching exercises vs manual therapy in treatment of chronic neck pain: A randomized, controlled cross-over trial. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. 2007;39(2):126-32.
- Henning RA, Jacques P, Kissel GV, Sullivan AB, Alteras-Webb SM. Frequent short rest breaks from computer work: Effects on productivity and well-being at two field sites. Ergonomics. 1997;40(1):78-91.
- Nakphet N, Chaikumarn M, Janwantanakul P. Effect of different types of rest-break interventions on neck and shoulder muscle activity, perceived discomfort and productivity in symptomatic VDU operators: A randomized controlled trial. Int J Occup Saf Ergon. 2014;20(2):339-53.