Conquer Your Neck Pain

Neck pain, man with backache on black background
Conquer Your Neck Pain

Stretch Yourself Out Of Neck Pain

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), about 20% of people will have experienced neck pain in the past 3 months. Some of it is caused by our everyday activities such as looking down at our phones for too long, sleeping the wrong way, or accidental sprains while other causes are more severe such as chronic issues or whiplash.The most common reason for stiffness in the neck is muscle weakening over time due to poor posture or misuse, as mentioned in the examples above. For example: staring down at the computer screen, or the phone, or bending your neck for extended periods of time for any reason, causes the neck joints and muscles to tire, become overstretched and weaken. So if you are partaking in the same neck-straining activity over and over, day after day, your neck will inevitably suffer, causing stiffness and pain.One of the best ways to deal with neck pain and stiffness right away is to do neck stretches. They may be enough on their own to heal your neck aches or can be very helpful in conjunction with other treatments such as medications or light energy therapy treatments, depending on the severity and the type of neck problems.These stretches can be done first thing in the morning, during the day at your desk, or conveniently, while you exercise at the gym. Besides getting instant pain and stiffness relief, these can even feel as good as a neck massage. Let’s take a closer look at the stretches:Standing Neck Arch – Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, and place your palms on the top of your thighs. Bend both knees, squeeze your shoulder blades back, and relax your shoulders as you lift your chest, neck, and crown of your head toward the sky, arching your upper back slightly. Hold for 20 seconds, and repeat.Shoulder Lean – Place the palm of your left hand on your right ear. Gently press down on your head, so your left ear moves toward your left shoulder. Get as close as is comfortable and hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides, repeat.Hand-To-Neck Support – Bring your arms behind your head and clasp your hands behind the neck. Open your elbows wide and relax your shoulders. Gently move your thumbs along your spine and press slightly. Lift your skin up a few inches and hold for five seconds, then move the skin back to where you started for five seconds. Alternate up and down for 30 seconds.Extension With Ball – Place a stability ball against a wall then press your back against the ball and extend your legs in front of you. Clasp your hands behind your head. Relax your shoulders and gently lean back into the ball while pressing your shoulders back.Let It Go – Sit in a meditation pose (legs crossed) on the ground and bring your chin to chest. Slowly bring your upper body down by extending your hands to the floor, and crawling your fingertips out as far as you can comfortably go without causing more tension or pain in your body. When you feel like you’re at your limit, relax and take three breaths into the tight muscles to release them. Switch legs and repeat.Gaze To Thumb – Standing open your arms to a T-position, keeping your elbows straight. Lower your right arm toward the ground, and your left arm up on a high diagonal, so your arms form a straight slope, from fingertip to fingertip. Gaze up toward the thumb of your raised hand, and then slowly turn your head and neck as you shift your gaze onto your right thumb. Do this stretch for 30 seconds, with equal intervals to each side.Resisted Slow-Motion Rotation – Sit or stand with your spine in alignment, put tension into your movements while slowly rotating your head toward the left. Maintain the resistance as you tilt your chin towards your left shoulder. Rotate your head down and over to the right, tucking the chin into the right shoulder. Finish with head turned to the right. Repeat this slow pattern four times, then do two times without resistance, same pace.
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