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Neck Exercises – Stretches for Neck Pain

Seated neck stretches, standing neck stretches and recumbent neck stretches

Neck stretches can be done while standing, sitting or while lying down, so they are always possible to do wherever you are. Often with these exercises it is possible to do them while sitting in a car, on a bus or train or anywhere that you feel comfortable. They really help give neck pain relief if they are done properly.

Following are some excellent neck exercises *(always consult your health professional before carrying out these stretches and exercises as they are intended for healthy necks and should not be copied unless your chiropractor, physiotherapist or health professional advises).

Neck exercises

The neck muscles include the trapezius muscles:

The traps fan out in a diamond shape, running from the mid-back up to the shoulders finally attaching at the base of the head. They help with lifting the shoulders up to the ears in shrugging movements. If the traps get tight they can cause neck pain and stiffness and develop trigger points that take a lot of massage therapy to break down. To keep your traps supple and reduce neck tension here’s a great neck exercise you can do every day as often as you like.

Neck stretch 1 – The trap stretch

How to do the trap stretch for neck pain relief

  1. Sit, stand or lie on you back with arms at your sides
  2. Side bend-(laterally flex) the head to one side and tip the ear to the opposite shoulder in a pain free range of movement
  3. With the opposite hand, slowly begin shrugging (lifting the shoulder towards the ear) and hold for 15 seconds then lower the shoulder to the floor.
  4. Repeat the exact same neck exercise on the opposite side. It’s best to try and do 2 sets of 15 seconds each side at least twice each day but there’s really no real sensible limit so it can be done as often as you can fit it in.
Stretch of right side of neck

Stretching of right side of neck

Stretch of left side of neck

Stretching of left side of neck

Neck exercise 2 – Cervical spine extension

seated neck exercise

Neck extension to relieve neck flexors and stretch the front of the neck

This exercise for neck pain is extremely effective as it takes downward pressure off the cervical spine while lengthening the muscles and can give immediate relief.

How to do the cervical spine (neck) extension exercise

 

  • Sit, stand or lie on the floor with both arms stretched down by your side
  • Push both shoulders down
  • Tuck the chin into the chest
  • Extend the head back slightly while elevating the chin to the ceiling, still keeping the arms down and back
  • Hold that position for 15 seconds then rest for 30 seconds and repeat

Neck stretch 3 – Trap and neck stretch

How to do the trap and neck stretch

  1. Extend the shoulders down back slightly
  2. Grasp the wrist of the arm on the side to be stretched with the other hand
  3. Turn the head toward side of the neck to be stretched and tilt the head away (ear to shoulder)
  4. Feel a stretch in the side of the neck
  5. Hold the neck stretch for 20 seconds and repeat each side three times

Neck exercise
Neck exercise

 

Neck exercises relieve tension

Neck exercise to relieve tension in the traps and shoulders

Chiropractic stretches for the neck are done as part of routine treatments at Complete Care Chiropractic. Stretches to relieve tightness in the neck and shoulders are effective in releasing tension and improving movement when carried out in a safe and controlled manner.

*(Always ask your physician before commencing any exercise or stretching program including these examples of exercises for neck pain).

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