Neck pain is a common medical complaint. Neck pain comes from muscle strains, worn joints, nerve compression, injuries and diseases. This pain is often caused by poor posture or muscle overuse. According to the Mayo Clinic, a doctor may recommend neck exercises and stretches to help treat neck pain. These exercises can help restore muscle function, increase strength and optimize posture. Below are several exercises to help with neck pain. When completing these exercises, it is important that your body is aligned correctly. Make sure that your back is straight, your neck, head and shoulders are aligned, and your shoulders are relaxed.
Exercise #1: Neck Rolls
To complete this neck exercise, begin by standing up straight with feet hip-width apart. Let your arms hang down by your sides. Drop your head slowly to the right side. Roll it slowly around your shoulders and back in a wide circle. Repeat twice and then switch directions. As you slowly roll your head, beware of the tight spots. While rolling your neck, hold your breath and slowly exhale. To deepen this stretch, place a hand on your head and gently pull to the side.
Exercise #2: Backward Resistance
For this exercise, begin by standing with feet hip-width apart. Place both hands behind your head with fingers interlaced. Try to move your head backwards while forcing resistance with your hands. Make sure not to tip your chin. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Do 5 to 10 repetitions.
Exercise #3: Arm Pulls
Start this second arm pull exercise by standing with feet hip-width apart. Raise both your arms so they extend over your head. Bend your left arm and lower it behind your head. Grab your left elbow with your right hand and gently pull to stretch. Breathe slowly and let your shoulders relax. Hold for 20 seconds. Return to starting position and repeat five times. Repeat with your other arm.
Exercise #4: Chin to Chest
Sitting in a chair, gently bend your head forward while expanding and bringing your chest up towards your chin. Stop and hold the stretch when you feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Hold for 20 seconds. Return to starting position and repeat five times.
Exercise #5: Eyes Up
Begin by sitting in a chair. Gently bend your head backwards so your face is looking up at the ceiling. Stop when you feel the stretch in the front of your neck. Hold for 20 seconds. Return to starting position and repeat five times.
Exercise #6: Side Glances
Sitting in a chair, gently turn your head to the right, glancing over your right shoulder. Stop when you feel this stretch in the left side of your neck. Hold for 20 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat five times. Repeat by turning to the left and hold for 20 seconds. Return to starting position and repeat five times on the left side.
Complete these neck exercise three times a day or as needed to help prevent neck pain.