Neck muscles play an important role in the human body and can become tense or sore, especially for those who spend a lot of time sitting stationary in front of computer screens. Fortunately, there are stretches you can do to relieve and prevent neck muscle tension. Keep reading for five exercises you can do almost anywhere to ease a sore neck.
Lift the top of your shoulders as close to your ears as you can get. You should feel tension in your shoulders and neck. Hold the lift for three to five seconds, and then drop your shoulders back down. Repeat this process three times. Using this exercise when you first notice neck muscle tension developing can help prevent it from worsening.
Sit upright and look forward. Slowly turn your chin towards your right shoulder until you feel the left side of your neck stretching. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Move your chin back to the center and then do the same for the other side. Repeat these steps twice for maximum neck muscle tension relief.
Look straight ahead with your neck straight. Then slowly tilt your head to the left side and hold it in that position for about 5 - 10 seconds. This will help relieve neck muscle tension on the right side. Then, try tilting your head to the right side for the same amount of time in order to get relief on your left side. You should repeat this stretch several times over, and also try tilting your head forward and backward to stretch out your neck.
Start by bending your knees and placing the palm of your hand on your lower back. Then, use your palms to push your back forwards, hold this position for 10 seconds, and repeat. This will stretch the muscles in both your back and neck, and may help relieve neck muscle tension. This is a great exercise to use if you have been sitting still for a long period of time.
Raise your right arm up straight up, and then bend it. Use your left hand to hold your right elbow and gently pull it towards your head. Hold the position for 10 - 15 seconds, and then repeat for the other side. This exercise, although it doesn't seem to affect the neck directly, it can relieve tension on the upper back muscles and indirectly provide relief for the entire area.
The main ways you can take care of your neck is to ensure you move your neck throughout the day and get plenty of exercise. Taking care to exercise your muscles will help prevent a lot of problems. Make sure to stop doing any exercise or stretch if it causes pain and do see a doctor if you have persisting neck pain. Read more on how to relieve neck muscle tension and other symptoms.
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Neck pain and stiff neck. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Neck-pain/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. (2015). Neck pain exercises. Retrieved from http://www.csp.org.uk/publications/neck-pain-exercises