When the neck and upper back muscles become weakened, the head sags forward and increased stress is placed on the cervical spine, which can lead to neck pain. Strengthening these muscles can help improve posture and get the head closer to neutral position (with the ears directly over the shoulders). Like with any other part of your body, exercises and stretches can make the muscles in your neck stronger and more limber. Watch Dr Matt demonstrate these moves to loosen a tense neck, banish pain, and gain flexibility.
If you already have pain in your neck or elsewhere, talk to your Chiropractor before you start. You will feel some tension in your neck muscles when you stretch. But you shouldn’t have pain. If you do, stop right away. If your pain persists — or worsens, you should consult your Chiropractor or other healthcare provider. Your symptoms could be tied to an underlying condition that requires professional treatment.
Below describes all of the stretches demonstrated in the video:
Do this while standing, with your feet hip-width apart and arms down by your sides.
- Gently tilt your head toward your right shoulder and try to touch it with your ear. Stop when you feel the stretch. Don’t raise your shoulder.
- Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds, then return to the start position.
- Repeat on your left side. You can do several sets and work your way up to 10 repetitions.
- For extra stretch, put the hand on the same side of your tilted head on top of your head, and press lightly with your fingertips.
You can do this while seated or standing.
- Keep your head squarely over your shoulders and your back straight.
- Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a stretch in the side of your neck and shoulder.
- Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, and then slowly turn your head forward again.
- Repeat on your left side. Do up to 10 sets.
Seated Clasping Neck Stretch
Maintaining correct posture is important for this stretch.
- Clasp your hands and bring both palms to the back of your head.
- Sitting with a tall spine, ground your hips firmly into your seat.
- From here, begin to gently press your hands down toward your thighs, tucking your chin into your chest.
- As you press down, use the heels of your palms to pull your head away from your shoulders. This will intensify the stretch even more.
- Hold here for at least 5 seconds, and then slowly lift your head up and release your hands.
- Take your neck backward (without pain).
- Hold her for 5 seconds.
- This is one rep, repeat 3 times.
Mid back Stretch
- Place a foam roller (a rolled up towel will work too) on the floor.
- Lie down on the ground and position the foam roll so that it is in the middle of your upper back.
- Relax for up to 10mins in this position.
- This is a great position to practice mindfulness as well.
Corner Pec Stretch
A corner pec stretch is much like a push-up at the wall, except that the emphasis is placed on staying in the position that causes your chest muscles to lengthen:
- Place your forearms and palms on either side of the wall at approximately shoulder level.
- Exhale, and pulling your lower abdominal muscles into your spine, lean toward the wall. You only need to go to the point where it feels challenging but causes no pain or discomfort. It’s more important to move your whole body as a unit, and not bend anywhere along the chain.
- Hold the position for between 5-30 seconds, then come back to start.