Everyone's been there: After a long day of working at a desk, hunched over a project and looking down at your devices, the pain creeps up. Your neck stiffens and your shoulders ache. You've tried rolling your neck, massage, applying heat and applying ice, but nothing seems to work to alleviate the pain. Jill Miller, a fitness expert and author of The Roll Model, says she may have your answer.
Speaking with the web series #OWNSHOW about neck pain, Miller reveals a secret pressure point that can help -- and it's in your hand.
"If you use a computer mouse or you're at a desk much of the day, there's a lot of tension going on in your hand," she explains. "That tension is interconnected via fascias all the way up to the neck and shoulder."
To ease this pain, Miller says all you need is a small rubber ball. Place it on a table or desk, and put your hand on top of it.
"The ball is going to tuck into the junction where your thumb meets the rest of your hand -- that's called the thenar eminence," Miller says, demonstrating the exercise on her right hand in the above video. "You want to try to pry that junction apart [as you roll the ball]."
But be warned: It won't feel great at first.
"You may be surprised that there's a lot of unpleasant things that you're feeling in there," Miller says. "That's from probably years and years of stiffness, from grasping your cell phone or holding onto a child or computer mouse or what have you."
After rolling the ball, you'll pivot your hand while still applying pressure, as if you're pressing orange juice. "[You'll be] wringing and twisting and creating a ton of heat in there," Miller demonstrates.
Do this for about a minute, then leave the ball where it is and stand up straight with your palms facing forward. "Raise both of your arms all the way overhead, trying to move your arms as far back behind you as possible," Miller says. "You may be surprised that the right hand, which is the hand that I just did, is further back than the left. Isn't that crazy? And that's just a few seconds of rolling." Is working at a desk also giving you bad posture? Try this 20-second stretch using nothing more than a towel.