Addressing That Pain in Your Neck

Addressing That Pain in Your Neck

Have you ever woken up and immediately felt pain or stiffness in your neck that made it difficult to get out of bed? Or you turn your head the wrong way and suddenly there’s a shock of pain shooting up your neck? We usually take it for granted that our necks are constantly doing the very hard jobs of carrying around our heads until our necks are injured or tight.

If you think about it, our necks are put under constant stress throughout the day. While we’re sitting (with questionable posture) and staring at computer screens for hours, walking and looking down at our phones, holding our heads up and steady while we do ab exercises, or even more extreme, supporting our heads while we’re getting punched in sparring.

To offer some relief, here are some basic and easy stretches that you can do every day to help loosen and strengthen your neck. It’s even a good idea to start your day with this.

These can all be done seated or standing, against a wall if you prefer.

1. Start by keeping your head level as you rotate your head, facing from one side to the other several times.
2. Then do the side to side rotations with your chin dipping into your chest. Remember to keep your shoulders relaxed while doing these.
3. From this sitting position you can also clasp your head behind your head and gently press your hands/head down to the front, tuck your chin to your chest, and hold for 30 seconds. Feel free to do this with your feet stretched out in front of you too.
4. You can also do Upper Trap Stretches by placing one hand on the side or top of your head and gently pulling your head to the side. You should feel this in your neck down to your traps.

The above are simple stretches to start with, but there are many ways to help stretch out your neck, shoulders, and back, since they are all very much connected and often one can affect the other. There are also a lot of yoga stretches that will help to alleviate stiffness, like Thread the Needle, Sphinx pose, Cat/Cow, etc.

Doing exercises to strengthen your neck is a good idea, especially if you’re doing sports that would benefit from it, but also to help prevent injuries. Keeping your body healthy and functional means moving it as much as possible, even our necks. I don’t think many people are going to the gym specifically to work out their necks, but stretching it daily should be a part of our regular routines!


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