Stretch It Out! 10 Must-Try Exercises for Neck Pain
Are you tried of struggling with neck pain and want to take a proactive approach to lessen it? Here are 10 must-try exercises for neck pain.
If you’re suffering from neck pain and soreness, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that the prevalence rate of neck pain in America is 31 per cent. That includes people who work on computers and do heavy lifting. If you stretch and exercise your neck when it feels good, it’s less likely to get injured. Many neck stretches only take a few minutes of your day. Not sure which stretches to do? Keep reading for the best exercises for neck pain you need to try. 1. Neck Rotations This first stretch is the easiest and you can do it anywhere. Start in a standing position with both feet planted at hips-width apart. Stand up straight with your shoulders gently pushed back. Lean your head to the right side and hold it there for 10 seconds. Let your head roll forward and feel your chin encroach on your collar bone. Hold it there for 10 seconds and feel the pull on the back of your neck. Finish the stretch by lifting your head to the left side, ear towards your left shoulder. Hold your head here for another 10 seconds. Repeat this full rotation of 30 seconds another 5-10 times. 2. Cat Cow Asana You may be familiar with this stretch if you practice yoga. The cat cow pose is great for soothing and stretching your back and abdominal muscles. Start in a tabletop position, on your hands and knees. The cat part of this stretch involves arching your back like a stretching cat. Imagine a force above you is lifting your back up from the middle section. The cow part involves dropping your stomach towards the ground, reversing the arch in your back. As you arch downwards, lift your chin to the ceiling. Spend a few seconds breathing deeply in cat and cow, then repeat 10 times. 3. Isometric Neck Stretch This exercise builds strength in your neck muscles while also stretching them. Start in a balanced, standing position. Place the palm of your right hand against the right side of your head. Press your head into your palm for three seconds. Then, switch to the left side of your head with your left palm. Repeat with your forehead pressed into both palms. It’s important not to overdo this exercise and to stop if it feels uncomfortable. 4. Back Burner Your back and chest muscles affect the pain in your neck muscles. Use stretches that work on all your upper muscles, like the back burner. Start with your back against a wall; make a point to push your lower back against it as well. Stick your arms out in a T position. Ensure the backs of your arms and wrists are touching the wall. Slowly move your arms up and down the wall like wings. Complete this exercise five times, then repeat often throughout the day. 5. Foam Rolling Have you ever used a foam roller? They may look like intimidating pieces of gym equipment, but they’re quite easy to use. To work out your neck, sit on the ground with the foam roller behind you. It should be sitting vertically, or in line with your spine. Gently lean back onto the foam roller. You don’t need to move or stretch in this position. Let your arms fall to the sides. Simply lean on the foam roller alone your spine for 30 seconds. 6. Prone Cobra Stretch This strength exercise can significantly improve your neck’s flexibility and agility. Start by laying face down on the floor. Place a rolled-up towel under your forehead for it to rest on. Your arms should be at your sides with your palms facing the ground. Gently pinch your shoulder blades together thus slightly lifting your chest. Lift your head off the towel as well and stare ahead. Hold this position 10 seconds, then repeat 10 more times. 7. Thread the Needle Stretch Another yoga position, the thread the needle stretch is amazing for your neck. But, if you’re limited in flexibility, don’t push yourself with this one. Start in a tabletop position on the ground. Lift your right arm and thread it through the space between your left arm and the ground. Let your right shoulder press into the ground. As the right side of your head also presses into the ground, you’ll feel a stretch in the right side of your neck. Hold for 20 seconds then switch to the other side. 8. Child’s Pose Tipover Who doesn’t love child’s pose for relaxing and soothing the back muscles? This variation focuses on the neck. Start in child’s pose on a yoga mat or carpet. Gently clasp your hands together behind your back. Lift your hands towards the sky, feeling a stretch in the backs of your shoulders. Lift your hips off your feet and gently place the weight onto your forehead. Adjust so the top of your head is against the ground and hold here for 10 seconds. Lower and raise your hips slowly a few more times to complete the exercise. 9. Heart Opener from Seated Position This stretch starts on the ground. With your knees bent backward, sit on the backs of your feet. Lean back and place your palms behind your feet, fingers pointed away from your body. As you lean into your palms, lift your chin and look upwards. You should feel this stretch in the front muscles of your neck. If you want to go deeper, look farther back and push your seat into your heels. 10. Practice Postural Awareness To prevent neck pain daily, practice postural awareness. By sitting and standing straight, there’s less strain on your neck. This is especially important for those who work on the computer or at a desk. Consider using office ergonomics to encourage good posture. Lift your computer monitor up to eye level and get a lower back pillow for your chair. And, of course, do exercises for neck pain every day. Interested in Doing These Exercises for Neck Pain? If you experience neck pain, there are ways to reduce and treat it. Start by doing the exercises for neck pain above. For some neck injuries and pain levels, you should see a professional. Axis Health has a team of chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists that can help you. Don’t settle for living in pain; see one of our physicians to treat your neck pain.