LATERAL NECK STRETCH
This stretch can be performed seated or standing, although I recommend standing to get you out of your chair and moving around.
STEP 1 (pictured above): Using your right hand, grab the left side of your head and gently bring your right ear toward your right shoulder. Be mindful not to raise your right shoulder up to meet your ear (this makes things worse). Extend your left arm toward the ground or, alternatively, place your left hand behind your back, palm facing out, to add more resistance. This stretches the trapezius muscle. Hold for 5-10 seconds, repeating 5 times on each side.
STEP 2 (pictured above): Using your left hand, draw your head downward toward your left armpit (almost like you’re trying to smell your armpit haha). This stretches the elevator scapulae muscle. Hold for 5-10 seconds, repeating 5 times on each side.
This stretch can also be performed seated or standing, although I still recommend standing to get your blood flowing.
STEP 1: Clasp your hands behind your back, drawing your shoulder blades together and simultaneously look up. Hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times. This stretches your longs colli muscles in the front of your neck and your pectoral muscles in your chest. If this is uncomfortable with your arms/shoulders, you can simply just look up without clasping your hands behind your back, to make it more gentle.
STEP 2: Resting your arms by your sides, angle your head like you’re looking straight up to the ceiling and then to slightly to the right, while drawing the right shoulder downward. Hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times on each side. This stretches the SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscle.
NOTE: If this stretch causes any light-headedness or dizziness, STOP doing it immediately. You should see your primary care physician to figure out why this is occurring.
CHIN TO CHEST STRETCH:
Interlacing your hands together while placing your hands on the back of your head, draw your chin to your chest and apply slight pressure downward with your hands. Hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times. This stretches the trapezius muscle as well.
It may sound simple, but neck rolls are a great way to actively stretch all of the muscles in your neck. Roll your neck clockwise and counter-clockwise 5 times each.
CHIN TUCK EXERCISE
This exercise is GREAT to strengthen your neck muscles and help with forward head posture.
While seated or standing (I used to always do this in my car at red lights), draw your shoulders back and retract your head, almost like you’re giving yourself a double chin. Hold for 3-5 seconds and release. Repeat 10times.
PROBLEMS WITH YOUR PILLOW?
Having a good, supportive pillow to sleep on each night is ESSENTIAL.
Check out our Blog Post “What is the BEST Pillow for Neck Pain” to read up on which pillow we recommend and personally use every night!
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