7 Simple Exercises For Neck Pain

Are you living with neck pain? These simple exercises help stretch and strengthenyour neck and the surrounding muscles to help give you some relief.

As with any chronic pain, simple exercises aren’t always going tobe a silver bullet. If your neck pain issevere or persists for more than a few weeks, you should definitely talk to a doctor. The cause could be as simple as stress at work or sleeping on the wrong pillow or as serious as a tumor or whiplash. For long-term or intense pain, your doctor is your best bet.

Related: 6 Natural Remedies for Neck Pain

If your neck pain is mild and hasn’t been going on for too terribly long, though, simple exercises like these can help give you some relief. Theycan also help if you suffer from chronic neck pain that has been diagnosed by a doctor, but be sure that you clear any new exercises with your doctor before beginning.

Below are some simple exercises for neck pain. Don’t feel obligated to do them all.Try them out, and choose the ones that feel like they are helping you. Keep in mind that some exercises, especially strengthening ones, take practiceto yield results. If performing any of these motions hurts, don’t do them! Putting stress on injured muscles can make matters worse, so listen to your body.

1. Neck Rolls

Neck rollsstretch and strengthen many of the muscles associated with neck pain, but you need to be sure you’re doing them properly. You don’t want to do a full rotation, because unless your neck, chest and shoulders are strong, hanging your head backwards compresses the spine, which can just make your pain worse. Instead, begin your neck roll with your left ear hanging toward your left shoulder, gently roll your chin toward your chest, then gently roll the right ear toward the right shoulder. Stop there, then repeat in the opposite direction. You can do these safer neck rolls a few times. Take it slowly, pausing anywhere that the stretch feels particularly good. If something hurts, back off.

Locust Pose is a great posture corrector if you're experiencing neck pain. It engages your upper back, and strengthening those muscles takes some of the burden off of your neck.

2. Locust Pose

Often, poor posture is the culprit behind neck pain, and Locust Pose is a great posture corrector. It engages your upper back, and strengthening those muscles takes some of the burden off of your neck. Begin lying on your belly with your arms parallel to your sides and yourlegs together. Begin by engaging your leg and glutemuscles and taking a deep breath in. On the next exhale, clasp your hands together behind your back and lift your upper back and head off the floor.Keep your neck in a neutral position (not tilting backward) and your gaze soft. Hold for up to a minute, then release.

Child's Pose is a restorative pose that can help with neck pains and fatigue.

3. Child’s Pose

If your neck muscles are weak, just the strain of supporting your head all day can cause pain. Child’s Pose is a nice rest from that strain. Begin sitting on your knees with your bottom resting on your heels. Think abouta string going up your spineand toward the sky, pulling your back straight and lengthening your neck. Then, raise your arms above your head and fold forward at the waist until your head is resting on the floor and your belly rests on your thighs. Place your outstretched palms on the floor in front of you or clasped behind your back.

Variation: If practicingChild’s pose with your knees together is painful, you can also separate your knees, letting your torso rest between your thighs when you bend.

Down Dog strengthens the upper back and shoulder.

4.Downward Dog

This is another posture that helps elongate the neck, this time using the power of gravity. Down Dog also strengthens the upper back and shoulder, so you’re getting a real double-whammy here. Begin on the floor on all fours with your knees directly under your hips and your palms under your shoulders. Curl your toes, so they’re touching the floor in tiptoe position, then straighten your legs leaving your knees slightly bend. You can walk your legs back a bit, if you need to. Then, push with your hands as you pull your bottom up and back, tightening your abs to support your lower back. Draw your shoulder blades together, and(if possible) straighten your legs the rest of the way.You can have your feet flat on the floor or remain on your toes – whichever is more comfortable. Let your head hang in a neutral position, and enjoy the gentle stretch as you focus on keeping your spine straight and your legs, glutes, and shoulder blades engaged. Hold this foras long as you like!

5. The Side-to-Side

Like neck rolls and elongating, this exercise stretches the muscles in and around your neck.Sit or stand up straight with your chin in a neutral position and your shoulders pressed down. Slowly turn your head to the right, moving your gaze toward the right wall. Only go as far as is comfortable. Hold for a count of 5. Come back to neutral, rest for a count of 5, then repeat the exercise to the left.Work up to repeating this pair of stretches 5 times.

This is a great neck stretch that you can do anywhere. Sit or stand up straight with your chin in a neutral position and your shoulders pressed down. Gently tilt your head to the left, so your left ear drops toward your left shoulder; it will not touch. Keep your chin tilted up slightly, then use your left hand to very gently pull your head closer to your shoulder. Do not pull hard, and if you feel pain, ease off on the pressure. Hold this for 5-10 seconds, then come back to neutral and repeat on the other side. You can do 3-5 sets of this exercise.

6. The Other Side-to-Side

This is a great neck stretchthat you can do anywhere.Sit or stand up straight with your chin in a neutral position and your shoulders pressed down. Gently tilt your head to the left, so your left ear drops toward your left shoulder; it will not touch. Keep your chin tilted up slightly, then use your left hand to very gently pull your head closer to your shoulder. Do not pull hard, and if you feel pain, ease off on the pressure. Hold this for 5-10 seconds, then come back to neutral and repeat on the other side. You can do 3-5 sets of this exercise.

7.Practice Elongating

Stress often causes us to compress our necks, and this exercise stretches out those muscles, almost like a turtle coming out of its shell. Sit or stand up straight with your chin in a neutral position and your shoulders pressed down. Engage your neck muscles to push your chin straight out in front of you. You’ll feel a gentle stretch on your throat and tension in the back of the neck. Hold for a slow count of 5, then return to neutral. Next, engage your neck again, this time pushing the back of your head toward the wall behind you, but without tilting your chin down. You’ll feel a frankly fantastic stretch along the very top of your spine and your neck. Hold this for another slow count of 5, then return to neutral. Work up to repeating this pair of stretches 5 times.

Related:

Are you living with neck pain? These simple exercises help stretch and strengthen your neck and the surrounding muscles to help give you some relief.

Images via Thinkstock.

303 comments

Andrea B
Andrea Byesterday

Nothing new. Tx

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Elizabeth O
Elizabeth Oyesterday

Thanks for the article.

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Elizabeth W
Elizabeth Wyesterday

To be honest, if you're living with neck pain, seeing a doctor will be a complete waste of time. My advice is to find a good chiropractor and have regular appointments. Take it from someone who has been having back and neck issues since she was 13. A doctor won't pick up the real issue.

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Amparo Fabiana Chepote

Yoga..all around good...what a pain in the neck...practice yoga softly.

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Lindi S
Lindi S1 days ago

I so-oo needed this article! I thought I was getting rid of my pain in the neck when I got divorced years ago but no-oo, so , I totally need these tips! :D

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Lisa Zarafonetis

Thanks for sharing.

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Giana Peranio-paz

Tyfs

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Richard E Cooley

Thank you.

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Kay M
Kay M1 days ago

Good evening and thank you for this article - great ideas for relieving neck pain and stress- sincerely KAY M

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Ellie M
Ellie M1 days ago

ty

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