Reposturing | Best Neck Exercises & Stretches for Neck Pain | How To Relieve & Fix Neck Pain
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Best Neck Exercises & Stretches for Neck Pain | How To Relieve & Fix Neck Pain

Best Neck Exercises & Stretches for Neck Pain | How To Relieve & Fix Neck Pain

Want to know how to fix neck pain? Neck pain exercises and stretches for neck pain will help, but you need to understand what’s causing your neck pain in the first place if you want to relieve neck pain once and for all.

Why does my neck hurt?

Most likely, your neck pain stems from bad posture.

In a nutshell, the bones of your neck aren’t doing the work of weight bearing. And it’s putting a strain on your muscles.

How did it happen?

For one reason or another, the shoulders rolled forward and pushed your ribcage down. When that happened, your neck pitched down and forward, which forces the neck muscles to work hard to prevent the head from falling—which causes neck pain.

We all have muscles that go from our top two ribs up to all seven of our neck bones. When our top two ribs are pitched down and forward, those muscles pull the neck down and forward too—which keeps the neck from staying upright.

How do I fix it?

To fix neck pain, you’ll need to reverse the tension patterns, in the chest and shoulders. Then strengthen the muscles that pull the shoulders back and open, and keep the ribcage upright. Think of it as a three-step process.

Step 1: Pull the shoulders back

Your neck hurts because it’s at a bad angle. To get the angle right, you’ll start with your neck’s foundation: your shoulders and ribs.

Your ribcage needs to be level, upright, and open. Without an upright base, your neck doesn’t stand a chance. Pull your ribcage up by pulling your shoulders back with the Take a Bow Doorway Stretch.

Take a Bow Doorway Stretch

Stand in a doorway and lift your arms out to the side until your elbows are level with your shoulders. Bend at the elbow and place your palms against the outer (wall side) of the doorway with your thumbs pointed upward.

Lean forward with your upper body, bending at the waist.

Take eight deep breaths, bending further and further forward with each exhale. Work towards getting your torso parallel with the floor.

After the eighth breath, take one short step forward, then gently lift your torso and walk forward, releasing your palms from the doorway. Walk for 30 seconds to regain balance, leaving your chest open and upright.

What’s the point?

You should feel a stretch in the chest, front of your shoulders and upper arms. This will open the muscles, letting your arms hang further back with ease, and tipping the chest upwards.

Over time with repetition, your equilibrium will shift to the point that slouching feels unnatural and forced.

How’s my form?

Stand with your legs straight. As you lean forward, lead with your chest.

Step 2: Decompress your neck (Needs photo)

After you’ve opened your shoulders, you want to restore the height back to your neck.

We have a neck pull we do in Reposturing that pulls the neck vertically upright. We call it the Vertical Neck Traction.

The Vertical Neck Traction focuses on the musculature and connective tissue that goes over the neck and head. This helps restore the height to the neck after you’ve opened up your shoulders. Here’s how to do it:

Vertical Neck Traction (Needs photo)

Place the heels of your hands on your temples (above your ears) with your fingertips pointed upward and your thumbs pointed behind you. Press the heels of your hands inward and, maintaining pressure, gently lift your hands upward. Take three deep breaths and slowly release.

Switch your hands so that the heels of your palms are slightly behind your ears with your fingers pointed behind you and your thumbs pointed downward. Press the heels of your hands inward and, maintaining pressure, gently lift your hands upward. Take three deep breaths and slowly release.

Last, switch your hands to the base of the skull. Press and lift for three deep breaths. Slowly release.

What’s the point?

You should feel a stretch in all the muscles of the neck, including the back, sides, and front. This will free up your neck movement and restore height to your neck.

How’s my form?

Keep your shoulders and elbows as far back as possible and breathe into the stretch going a little deeper with each exhale.

Step 3: Restore the full range of motion

Once you’ve built a strong foundation and restored the height to your neck, you want to bring back your range of motion.

Neck exercises and stretches will help strengthen and release your neck so that you’re able to move easily without pain.

Side-Flex Neck Stretch (Needs photo)

Open your shoulders and lift your chest. From here, place the palms of your hands on the backside of the top of your legs.

Face straight forward and lean your ear toward your right shoulder as far as you can. Wherever your head stops, take a deep breath in through your nose. As you breathe out through your mouth, move your ear a tiny bit closer to your shoulder. Move more deeply into the stretch with each breath. After your fifth exhale, switch sides.

What’s the point?

You should feel a stretch in the side neck muscles. This movement improves the balance in the neck-to-shoulder muscles, releasing tension to the neck in a balanced way.

How’s my form?

Keep your shoulders back and breathe into the stretch going a little deeper with each exhale. Move slowly as you come out of this one.

7 Comments
  • Mikhail Burdman
    Posted at 19:04h, 17 August Reply

    How long do you anticipate doing these exercises/stretches until relief comes?
    Thanks!

  • James P
    Posted at 13:45h, 07 October Reply

    Neck pain is so common these days. People have to do some stretching once in a while or observe proper posture when doing things. These are helpful stretching exercises you have shared here. Thank you for sharing.

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