A stiff or sore neck is a common problem nowadays. One reason for that is the modern lifestyle. You have to sit in front of computers and laptops for many hours straight. Even if you don't work on a desk job, there are chances that you might develop neck pain. In such a situation, neck exercises can help you in getting relief from the pain. Now, neck exercises are not just for pain relief, they also loosen a stiff neck and help you in increasing flexibility. Moreover, you do not need to do yoga for the shoulder exclusively as most of these neck exercises are also beneficial for your shoulder muscles. Apart from shoulders, people also do exercises for upper back and exercises for back pain. But the benefits of neck strengthening exercises are so versatile that they will fulfill all your needs of exercise and stretching. This way, you can spend your time elsewhere, instead of doing yoga for lower back pain. Here is a list of a few neck exercises that can be done even by beginners:
Neck Exercises for Pain Relief and Stretching
Forward and Backward Tilt
Undoubtedly, one of the most common and effective neck exercises, forward and backward tilt is very easy to do. You require just a yoga mat or towel for this. All need you to take care of while doing this cervical exercise is that your moves should be very smooth and slow. Here is how to do this:
- Sit on the yoga mat with your spine straight.
- Your head should be placed squarely over the shoulders.
- Slowly, lower down your chin, look towards the floor.
- Keep this position for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
- Next, lift up your chin and keep lifting until your skull starts touching your back.
- Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds and then return your body to where you started.
- This was one set of forwarding and backward tilt. You can do many sets of this regularly once you get comfortable with doing neck stretching exercises.
- Shoulder Roll
The best neck exercises are those that can be done easily. And there is no other neck workout that can beat shoulder roll in ease of doing. Unlike most other neck pain exercises, it is usually done while standing. Here is how you can do it:
- Stand on a yoga mat and raise your shoulder up.
- Move the shoulder in a circular shape going forward.
- Repeat the circle at least 6 to 7 times.
- Return to the position of shoulders where you started.
- Repeat the circles but in the opposite direction.
- You can do this cervical exercise 4-5 times daily.
The shoulder roll is a very helpful exercise for the neck sprain. So, do not go for its name as it is not just an exercise for the strengthening of the shoulder but also one of the best neck sprain exercises.
Extension Stretch: Eyes to Sky
This is both a neck and cervical exercise. Regularly performing such neck exercises helps in relieving tension in the neck and reduces pain from bulging discs in your neck. Below are the step-by-step instructions for this:
- Sit or stand straight. Your shoulders should be relaxed and your hands beside you.
- Gently bend your head in the backward direction so that you are looking up at the ceiling or the sky.
- Do not overstretch and step when you feel a stretch in the front of your neck.
- Hold this position for at least 20 seconds.
- Your gaze should also be up.
- Slowly, return to the previous position.
- Do this exercise at least four times.
- Rotation: Side to Side
After eyes to the sky, it is time to bring a slight modification and do the neck stretches side to side. Lets learn how to perform it:
- Sit or stand with a straight spine and neck in the midline position. Your arms should be relaxed at the side and shoulders should also relax.
- Slowly, turn your head to the right and look over the right shoulder.
- Stop when you feel the stretch on the left side of your neck.
- Pause for 20 seconds and return to the previous position.
- Now, gently turn your head to the left and stop when you feel a stretch on the right neck.
- Hold for 20 seconds and return to the previous position.
- Repeat these movements at least four times.
- Lateral Flexion: Ear to Shoulder
This is another one of the simplest neck stretches you can do anytime anywhere. It not only loosens the tight muscles but also relieves pain, and reduces spinal pressure. Here is how to do it:
- Sit or stand straight on a mat with arms beside you. Your head should be in the midline position.
- Engage your core muscles to straighten your spine. Roll your shoulders back and relax.
- Slowly, bend your neck to touch your left ear to your shoulder.
- Hold this pose for at least 20 seconds.
- Return to the previous position.
- Now, do the same and attempt to touch your right ear to your right shoulder.
- Hold again for 20 seconds.
- Repeat these motions four times on each side.
Some other neck pain exercises you can try are:
- Neck rotation
- Upper Trapezius Stretch
- Doorway Stretch
- Wall Pushup
Do and Don'ts for Neck Exercises
Neck exercises can work wonders if they are performed properly on a regular basis. To make neck pain exercises more effective, we have jotted down some of the dos and don'ts. Keep them in mind while doing neck exercises and get the best results: Dos
- Try to be consistent with the neck pain relief exercises even after the pain is gone.
- Follow the expert’s advice if you are a beginner doing neck pain exercises.
- Adopt good body postures while performing neck strengthening exercises to avoid any discomfort.
- Do not overdo the isometric neck exercises as they can cause muscle pain or strain.
- Do not perform neck exercises if you experience any serious pain and contact your doctor.
- Avoid neck pain relief exercises if you have any neck, wrist, or arm injury.
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