Neck pain can be a minor annoyance or a severe debilitating problem keeping you from your daily tasks. Depending on the cause of your neck discomfort, it might be something you can treat yourself at home.
Since a lot of neck pain is muscular or nerve-related, there are exercises and stretches that help alleviate some of the problem. In fact, these actions are typically recommended by many physical therapists and chiropractors to relieve the pressure causing your pain.
You can head to your chiropractor to get a specialized routine made just for you or try these common stretches and exercises at home to see if they help.
Please note, these exercises are intended for healthy necks. Check with your health professional before starting any treatment plan for pain relief.
Gentle Stretches and Exercises to Help with Neck Discomfort
Your neck pain could be originating from multiple sites. These general, gentle moves are intended to cover some of the most common reasons people have pain in this area.
- Trapezius stretches – The trapezius muscles, or traps, run from the middle of the back up through the shoulder area and connect to the neck muscles at the base of your head. Too much pressure or pulling on the traps can lead to headaches and neck pain.
- To stretch the trap muscles, get in a position where your arms are straight by your side. You can sit, stand, or lie down for this.
- Then, tilt your neck so your left ear toward is aiming toward your left shoulder.
- Use your left hand to gently push down on the top of your head until you feel a nice stretch in your trapezius area, for 10 – 15 seconds. Do this twice.
- Repeat these steps with the opposite side.
- Neck stretches – This exercise includes the muscles that keep your head straight. If you use a computer a lot or have to sit for long periods, this is a good stretch to do proactively.
- Sitting or standing, push your chin straight out so your throat is stretched. Hold for five seconds. Return to normal position.
- In the same starting point, push your chin backward, toward your throat. Hold for five seconds.
- Repeat these steps five times per direction.
- Cervical stretches – Extending the muscles of the cervical spine helps to alleviate some of the pressure that builds up on the area. When you stretch the front of the neck and neck flexors, you will probably notice fast relief of your pain.
- You can perform this stretch from any position as long as your arms are at your side.
- Push both your shoulders as flat as possible, then tuck your chin into your chest with your head down as far as you can go without pain. Hold for 15 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.
- Tilt your head backwards as you push your chin to the ceiling and keep your arms straight down. Hold for 15 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds.
- Repeat these steps 3 – 5 times.
- Combination stretches – Many of your neck muscles work in tandem with each other, so if one is off for any reason, so are the rest. This combination stretch involves the trapezius and neck muscles together for a gentle, effective release of tight muscles.
- From a standing or sitting position, push your shoulders back straight and slightly downwards.
- Tip your right ear towards your right shoulder.
- Take hold of your right wrist with your left hand.
- Gently pull your shoulder towards the left side of your body as your chin remains facing the right shoulder. Hold for 10 – 20 seconds.
- Repeat these steps with the opposite side of your body. Stretch each side three times.
If you find that any of these movements causes you pain, stop them immediately and call your health care provider. These should be gentle, pain-relieving stretches and exercises that relieve your discomfort, not increase it.
Schedule an Appointment for Physical Therapy
Sometimes stretches aren’t enough to get rid of the pain and that’s okay, too. If you’ve tried the at-home pain relief gig and it’s just not doing the trick, you may need more professional care. For those patients in the Chicago area, Phyx Me Physical Therapy and Chiropractic services are ready to help you get back to normal.
Our specialists will work with you to get to the cause of your pain and create a treatment plan specialized for your problem. When stretches and exercises aren’t fixing the problem, contact PhyxMe Physical Therapy and Chiropractic to schedule an appointment and take control of your spinal health.