How to stretch that stiff neck (a routine for fast pain relief)

Despite the fact that a stiff neck is usually caused by a minor injury such as a muscle strain or ligament sprain, the painful flare-ups can be fairly intense or scorching. It’s crucial to avoid further stiffening or muscle deconditioning by limiting uncomfortable motions and resting a stiff neck, but it’s also important to keep the neck moving.

Here is a simple 4 exercise stretching routine that you can do by yourself which will keep your neck happy! But before you can focus on releasing the tension in your neck, lets first figure out what is causing it.

There are There are a few reasons that could be causing that area to be out of whack, resulting in that all-too-familiar tightness and stiffness above your shoulders. Improper posture can cause your head, shoulders, and middle back to move forward, causing your muscles to try to pull them back into alignment. As a result, they become tense and stiff.

The best neck stretches aren’t just for the neck. There are both static and dynamic settings available. While we often think of neck stretches as just holding a position, mobility-based movements are just as important. They assist your body in applying the right posture learned during static stretches to activity. 

Keep each stretch for about 2-4 mins and don’t be afraid of a little pain, apply gentle pressure on each stretch, there will be a little discomfort but it should not be overwhelming. Stop immediately if you experience any intense pain. This routine should take you about 15-20 mins can can be performed daily.

Basic neck extension stretch

Looking upward and bringing the head backward while maintaining the shoulders and back motionless, gently stretch the neck. When the head has gone back as far as it can without hurting, aim to hold the stretch for 5 seconds before returning it to the neutral (beginning) position.

The strain is felt around the front of the neck down the throat during a neck extension exercise. The muscles that act in the back of the neck, from the base of the head to the upper back, can also be felt.

Neck Flexion – Bending forward

Lower the chin toward the chest and stare downward with only the head moving. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds after the head has been extended forward as far as it can safely go before returning to neutral.

The back of the neck is stretched by the neck flexion stretch.

Lateral Neck Flexion (Isometric)

Slowly tilt the head to one side, bringing the left ear to the left shoulder, for example. The shoulders and back remain steady while the neck extends laterally to the side during this stretch. When the head has extended as far to the side as it can comfortably go, try to hold the stretch for 5 seconds before returning it to neutral. After that, repeat the stretch in the opposite direction.

The strain is felt along the right side of the neck when doing lateral neck flexion with the head bending toward the left shoulder.

Upper Trapezius Stretch

The upper trapezius is targeted by this stretch. You get a more targeted stretch because your arm is tucked behind your back and your other hand is pulling your head.

Place one hand on your lower back and the other on the opposite side of your head while you stand or sit tall. Pull your head toward your shoulder while keeping your eyes straight ahead until your neck stretches. Repeat on the other side after holding for at least 30 seconds.

How Often to Perform Neck Stretches

If you have an acute stiff neck that is especially painful and difficult to move, attempt each of these stretches only once before resting. These stretches could be repeated a few hours later or even the next day.

These stretches may become more comfortable over time and can be increased by holding the stretch positions for 10 seconds or performing additional sets. It’s vital to keep in mind that the goal is to enhance neck flexibility and function, not to increase pain.

Nicholas Lin

Nick is a multi-faceted, entrepreneur, restauranteur, and luxury curator. Passionate about wine, good food, fitness and travel, Nick left his management consulting job in New York City to pursue his passions for food and started a chain of sit-down restaurants in Singapore. After exiting the F&B business in 2019, he began to explore his other passions for fine wines, luxury travel, and a healthy lifestyle. Nick obtained WSET level 2 and attends numerous wine masterclasses each year. He writes about a myriad of topics and aspires to produce films in the very near future.

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