Neck pain is something most people have experienced after sitting in poor posture, staring at their phone screen, or sleeping in the wrong position. The strain occurs on the muscle that connects the spine to the shoulders known as the levator scapula. A chiropractor can help ease the tension, but you can also do these four stretches on your own to alleviate pain and stress in your neck.
1. Chest Opener
When the muscles in your chest get tight, they pull on the muscles in the back and cause back and neck pain to increase. Stand or sit up straight and clasp your hands together behind your back. Straighten your arms out and squeeze your shoulders together while lifting your chin so you can really feel the stretch. Hold the position for five seconds and repeat four more times for maximum effectiveness.
2. Side Neck Release
Point your nose toward your right armpit while you’re sitting or standing straight. Put your right hand behind your head and your left arm behind your back. The positioning of your arms keeps your shoulders down and assists with stretching your neck muscles. Pull gently with the hand on your head, hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat for the left side.
3. Double Chin
While sitting or standing straight, place two fingers on your chin. Gently push in on your chin while keeping it straight. This stretch helps because you tend to extend your neck when working on a computer or staring at your phone, which puts excess strain on your cervical spine.
4. Hand Clasp Behind Head Stretch
Clasp your hands together, and put the palms of your hands behind the bottom of your skull. Do this while either sitting or standing, as long as you’re not slouching. Slowly pull your elbows along the sides of your head and pull down as you try to point your elbows to the ground. Allow your shoulders to relax and drop. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
Back and neck pain can be daunting to deal with on a daily basis. These four stretches take less than five minutes to do every day and can make a world of difference in how your neck and back feel.