If your neck hurts, it can be tempting to stretch at the point of pain. However, there are a lot of areas of the body that can contribute to neck tension. To loosen the neck, stand up and get your entire body properly aligned.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands loose at your sides. Slowly lower your chin toward your chest until you feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Hold for five seconds, then come back to center. Gently lower your right ear toward the right shoulder until you feel the stretch on the left. Again, hold for five seconds and come back to center. Tilt to the left in the same manner.
Don’t go backwards yet.
The bones in your neck are quite small. The connections between them can get tense, shorten up, and cause you pain. Meanwhile, your skull is 12 to 14 pounds of fused bone. When moving your head to stretch your neck, even the slowest movement can put too much pressure on the delicate bones of your neck. Avoid tilting back while your muscles are tight to reduce the risk of tearing of soft tissue or displacement of vertebrae.
Now get your arms involved. Raise your shoulders and lower them 5 time to get blood moving into the muscles at the base of your neck. Next, raise and roll your shoulders forward six times. Rest for ten seconds, then raise and circle backwards.
Pull your right arm up and place your right hand gently on the left shoulder. Pull the right elbow close to the left shoulder while your right hand circles your own back. It may feel as though you’re giving yourself a hug. Keep the hand on your neck very soft; no tugging necessary for this stretch. This is a great stretch for neck tension caused by computer back. Hold for five seconds, then release and do the other side.
Raise your hands to your shoulders on the same sides and point your elbows straight in front of you. Slowly lower your head until you feel the stretch between your shoulders. Hold for five seconds.
The Art of Stretching Back
It should be noted that none of the stretches above
- stretched back, or
- rolled the head around on the neck
Until you can stretch forward deeply, your muscles aren’t loose enough to roll back. Avoid rolling your head all around on your neck. It’s simply too hard on the bones and connective tissue. To effectively stretch back,
- do the exercise above to loosen the muscles on the sides and at the base of the neck.
- stand up and shake out your hands a bit to relieve tension
- open your mouth
To safely stretch your neck back and avoid neck pain, you need to loosen your jaw. Moving slowly, let your jaw slacken as you tilt your head back. If you can, let your tongue hang out of your mouth. Think of letting the tissue at the front of your neck puddle down as your jaw drops down and back. Your breathing may get raspy or sound like a snore. Don’t force this move. Hold for five seconds, then lift your head and close your mouth.
A twisting spinal stretch that can help your neck will require you to get on all fours. From this position, stretch your right hand, palm up, out to the left, under your left shoulder. Aim to lay the right side of your head and your right shoulder on the floor while you reach with your right hand, palm up and flat on the floor, out to the left. Hold this pose for five seconds and feel the stretch all down your spine. Then stretch the left side in the same manner.
From this position, lower your seat to your heels and stretch your arms straight above your head, palms down and flat on the floor. Feel this stretch all along your spine. As possible, lower your forehead to the floor to intensify the neck stretch.
Keeping your neck loose can be simple, but these exercise must be done regularly for best effect. Contact us for an assessment of your current pain and physical condition so we can help you devise the proper stretching regimen. We’re here to help, call now 205-637-1363.