Several years ago, I began to notice that I had developed a numbness and tingling in three of my fingers of my left hand. This was alarming since I tend to use my fingers a lot.
I went to my primary care physician who ran the appropriate tests to make sure it was not anything too nefarious, and then referred me to a Physical Therapist. It turns out that I had a slight impingement in one of the vertebrae of my cervical (upper) spine that was affecting the nerve in my hand. I was given the “chin tuck” exercise to do.
The chin tuck was described to me as follows: “Sit or stand with your head up. Pretend that someone is coming in to give you a kiss and you do not want that kiss, so you back your head away.” A more scientific way to explain it would be as follows: Have the head directly over the shoulders (ears lined up with them); place a finger in front of the chin, then move the head back as far as possible from the finger. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10-15 times; others call for holding the pose as long as possible.
This exercise not only relieved my symptoms within a few weeks, but it also became a part of the my regular repertoire of stretches I do for myself and recommend for my clients. In addition to resolving impingements, chin tucks are one of the most effective exercises for relieving neck pain (often caused by the head being too far forward). It also helps with overall posture. This is a problem more now than ever as we often crane our heads over our keyboards.
The exercise looks silly while it is being done, but it if done on a regular basis, it can make a big difference in one’s posture, preventing possible pain further down the line.
Even though this exercise plainly says “don’t kiss me,” it is a stretch that most people will learn to love!