Are you experiencing neck and shoulder pain? Because there are a variety of neck pain causes, such as strain, whiplash, herniated discs, meningitis, or even just sleeping in an uncomfortable position, soreness in this area of the body is fairly common. Fortunately, there are multiple remedies that can help relieve chronic neck pain. One of the most effective ways to decrease the discomfort is by stretching.
If you are experiencing severe neck muscle pain, it may hurt too much to even perform basic stretches. If you find that this is the case, you will first need to relieve some of the pain using other methods, such as the following:
- Taking over-the-counter medications that diminish pain and inflammation, such as ibuprofen
- Applying a hot compress
- Applying an ice pack
- Visiting a chiropractor or physical therapist
If you cannot alleviate the pain on your own, consult a professional before beginning any of the following stretches. Your doctor may need to prescribe you a medication that will help decrease the pain. Although performing these exercises can usually relieve discomfort, there are some circumstances where it may make the problem worse. If you are unsure, hold off until you have visited a health professional.
Quick and Simple Neck Exercises
If your discomfort is mild or a professional has given you the go-ahead, start off by performing these 10 stretches. These quick exercises can be done anywhere, whether it be at home or during your break at work.
The first three stretches are the simplest and only require you to move your head. For each of these moves, you will hold them for five to 10 seconds and repeat three to five times on each side.
Slowly bring your ear down towards your shoulder. Make sure your shoulders are completely relaxed and do not move up towards your head. Hold, and then repeat on the other side.
In this move, you will bring your chin as close to your chest as you can and hold. Then slowly look up as far as you can and hold.
Look as far back over one of your shoulders as you can and hold, and then repeat on the other side.
More Complex Neck Exercises
If you have successfully completed the first three stretches, continue on to these exercises. The rest of these moves are a little more complex and may involve applying pressure to help deepen the stretch. For these exercises, you should hold them for 30 seconds and repeat three times.
Side Stretch With Pressure
Drop your left ear to your left shoulder. Then use your left hand to gently pull on the other side of your head, which should increase the pressure. You can also grab onto your knee or the bottom of your seat with your right hand to help pull your right shoulder down, deepening the stretch even more. Hold and repeat on the other side.
Front-and-Back Stretch With Pressure
Sit up straight, bring your chin to your chest, and place your hands on the back of your head. Slowly move your elbows down to gently apply pressure. After holding, bring your head back up and then look up as far as you can. Place your hands palms down on your shoulders and roll them across your sore muscles.
Rotation Stretch With Pressure
Look back over your left shoulder as far as you can. Then place one hand on the back of your left shoulder and the other on the right side of your jaw. Gently press together to deepen the stretch. After holding, repeat on the other side.
Bring your chin down towards one of your shoulders until you can feel a nice stretch in the back of your neck. Put your hands on your head and carefully apply pressure. Hold and repeat on the other side.
While standing, place your feet shoulder-width apart and both arms behind your back. Grab one wrist with the other hand and gently pull until you feel a deep stretch in the side of your neck. Hold and then switch to the other arm.
Sit on your heels and lean back, with your palms on the floor behind you. Your fingertips should be pointing back away from you. Then lift your chest, arch your back, and push your hips down. You can also lower your head back to increase the stretch.
Head Roll and Massage
Bring your chin to your chest and roll your head back and forth from side to side. Then use your hands to massage your head, neck, and top of the shoulders.
Complete these exercises each day to maximize your results and minimize your discomfort. If you have properly and consistently performed these stretches and are still not experiencing neck pain relief,then you should consider visiting a health professional for treatment.