Sore Neck? Here’s What You Need To Do Every Single Day
Do you wake up with a stiff or sore neck? Or perhaps after a long day at work, your neck feels strained.
While your posture and possibly bed set-up may have a lot to do with it (and may be worth looking into), there are things you can do in the meantime to help yourself and reduce your neck pain.
If you’ve already got a regular exercise routine, throw the following 4 exercises into it. These exercises will help relieve tight neck muscles, as well as strengthen major postural muscles; ultimately, helping you feel better.
1. The Upper Trap Stretch
The upper traps are located between your neck and your shoulder. They are a common spot for complaints of neck soreness and pain. A bad posture or heavy lifting activities can all contribute to stiff and tight upper trap muscles. The most simple solution to this? Stretch it out! Here’s how:
Sit tall in a chair, with your shoulders relaxed.
Place your left hand under your buttocks (essentially sitting on your left hand).
Slowly and gently bring your right ear toward your right shoulder.
If you feel enough of a stretch here, hold for 20-30 seconds.
If you want a little more, use your right hand to pull your head toward your right shoulder, then hold.
Repeat on the opposite side.
You can perform this stretch 3x a day for each side.
2. The Levator Scapulae Stretch
If you have a stiff or painful neck, your levator scapulae is likely affected. And to stretch it out is very similar to stretching the upper trap muscles, except with a few slight changes. Here’s how you do it:
Sit tall in a chair.
Sit on your left hand.
Turn your gaze toward your right armpit, and gently bring your head down toward your right armpit. If it feels like a good stretch for your neck here, hold your head in this position for 20-30 seconds.
If you want a little more, use your right hand to pull your head toward your right armpit a little more, then hold.
Make sure to perform the stretch on both sides. Again, this one can be performed up to 3x a day on each side.
3. The Chin Tuck
The chin tuck exercise works the deep neck flexors. These muscles are tiny, but often neglected and weak. They help hold the head back and keep it in line with the rest of your spine. This simple strengthening exercise helps to activate these muscles. Here’s how you do it:
Lie face up on a bed or the ground.
If it’s more comfortable, place a rolled towel under your neck.
Slowly bring your chin toward your chest, without lifting the back of the head up and off of the bed or ground.
Hold here for at least 5 seconds.
Do 10-12 reps for 2-3 sets.
Throughout the exercise, make sure you aren’t contracting the sides of your neck. You want to focus in on just using the deep neck flexor muscles to tuck in the chin.
4. The Shoulder Blade Pinch
The shoulder blade pinch is another exercise that aids in correcting your posture. It helps bring the shoulder blades back and down, keeping your chest up and open and your shoulders back. Here’s how you do it:
Sit or stand up tall.
Relax the shoulders and gently pinch your shoulder blades down and in.
Hold here for 5-10 seconds.
Repeat for 10-12 reps and 2-3 sets per day.
When this becomes easier, you can eventually add a seated row exercise in with the use of a resistance band. While performing the row, you want to make sure you pinch your shoulder blades down and in.
Exercise to Fix Your Sore Neck!
If any of the above exercises increase your pain levels, stop or ease off. And the above advice and exercises in no way should replace any advice given to you by your doctor. Your doctor knows you and your specific situation best.
The great thing about most of these exercises is that they can be performed in the comfort of your own home or even at work. Start performing them today. Get back to feeling better and fixing your neck pain, before it gets worse.