Chronic neck pain can be pretty irritating and debilitating, and it’s a pretty common problem for many people. In fact, it’s estimated that one in three people experience neck pain at least once a year, with women tending to suffer from it more often than men. However, no one has to needlessly endure this discomfort, as there are several things you can do at home to alleviate your pain while you wait to seek professional treatment. Here are a few stretches to help you out.
1. Forward Fold
This stretch is designed to assist with pain in your upper back or the back of your neck. Wrap your arms around the back of your shoulders, tuck your chin to your chest, and fold forward as far as feels comfortable—don’t hurt yourself further! You should be able to feel your arms preventing your body from expanding with the breath; use that to help the breath find its way to the back of your ribs and neck. Take long, smooth breaths followed by slightly extended exhales, continuing for one or two minutes.
2. Chin Forward to Shoulder
This one aims to target your back and side neck muscles. Start by sitting tall and moving your chin towards one of your shoulders, feeling it stretch out the opposite side of your neck. Pause for a few seconds in this position, and then gently relax before switching to the other shoulder and repeating 10 times.
3. Nose Across Ceiling
This stretch targets your front and side neck muscles and is quite easy to do! Gently tip your head back, nose to ceiling, as far as you comfortably/safely can. You should feel this stretch across the front of your neck. Imagine a curved line or arc going from the outside of one shoulder, up and across the ceiling, and back down to your opposite shoulder, and track your nose along it as best as you can. Repeat this motion ten times in both directions, alternating sides.
4. Side Bends
These are meant to target your side neck and torso muscles. Sit tall and bring one ear to the shoulder on the same side, while also bringing that same shoulder to your hip. Keep a slight chin tuck while you’re bending and aim to hold the position for one to two minutes, taking long, deep breaths.
5. Assisted Flexion Stretch
This technique is intended to target the back of your neck. You’ll need to lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground so that your pelvis can tuck under, and your lower back lengthens on the floor. Clasp your hands behind your head, and then use them to curl your head up off the ground. Try to bring your chin to your chest, making sure your upper back is still in contact with the ground. Do your best to hold this for 30 to 60 seconds.
It’s worth noting that while these stretches are quite helpful, they aren’t a substitute for professional care, and you shouldn’t put off seeing a specialist for your discomfort if it’s lasting!
About the Author
Dr. Zinovy Chukhman has proudly served patients in the Richardson, TX community for several years! His practice offers a wide range of treatments designed to help you remove pain and restore your overall quality of life. If you have any questions about the article or would like to arrange a visit for you or a loved one, you can contact Dr. Chukhman online or over the phone for further information: (972) 907-2800.