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Stretches And Exercises To Relieve A Tight, Stiff, Or Sore Neck

A stiff neck or a sore neck causes immense discomfort and can the pain can interfere with our everyday life. It may occur due to many reasons such as bad posture or an improper pillow. It may also occur because of muscle strain and nerve compression. Besides maintaining a good posture, some simple exercises and stretches can help in relieving the neck pain.

A stiff neck or a sore neck can quite literally be a pain in the neck. A bad posture or an improper pillow can result in a stiff neck. Sometimes, even muscle strains or nerve compression may lead to a stiff neck, which may spread to your upper back or even give you a headache. Here are some exercises and stretches that can help alleviate your painful neck condition. These 5 exercises and 5 stretches can help relieve pain. But, if the condition does not improve or worsens, consult your physician at the earliest.

Exercises To Relieve A Tight, Stiff, Or Sore Neck

1. Side Neck Bend

The side neck bend exercise helps relieve neck pain

  1. Sit in a chair or stand with your back straight, shoulders down and relaxed.
  2. Gently and slowly, tilt your head from side-to-side, facing forward the whole time.
  3. Feel the stretch of your neck muscles.
  4. Repeat the procedure as needed.

2. Chin Nod

The chin nod exercise helps relieve neck pain

  1. Lie down with a pillow under the head and bend your knees.
  2. In a smooth motion, slowly nod your head towards your chest until you feel the muscles harden.
  3. Maintain the position for a few seconds and then relax.
  4. Repeat the procedure as needed.

3. Extension

The extension is an exercise that can help relieve neck pain

  1. Sit in a chair or stand with your back straight, shoulders down and relaxed.
  2. Just as in the chin nod exercise, slowly nod your head forward till your chin touches your chest (it’s OK if it doesn’t).
  3. Then, tilt your head back as far as you comfortably can.
  4. Feel the stretch of the neck and muscles.
  5. Repeat as needed.

4. Retraction And Protraction

Retraction and protraction exercise can alleviate neck pain

  1. Sit in a chair with your back straight, shoulders down and relaxed.
  2. While keeping your gaze level, slowly retract and protract your head horizontally (just like chicken heads when they walk, but smoother and slower, at your own pace).
  3. Keep the rest of your body still during the exercise.
  4. Repeat the procedure as required.

5. Head Rotation

Head rotation exercise is effective in reducing neck pain

 

  1. Lie down with a pillow under your head and bend your knees.
  2. Turn your head slowly from one side to the other, from left to right (as if you are shaking your head to say “no”).
  3. Ensure that your body and shoulders are flat on the bed.
  4. Repeat the procedure as needed.

Note: While performing these exercises, see how your neck feels the entire time. If the pain worsens during or after the exercises, seek medical care at the earliest.

Stretches To Relieve A Tight, Stiff, Or Sore Neck

1. Grounded Tipover Tuck Stretch

Grounded tip over tuck stretch helps relieve neck pain

This stretch relaxes your neck and shoulders and also helps relieve headaches and drowsiness.

  1. Begin from the child’s pose with your shins and forehead on the floor.
  2. Retain the pose for a few breaths, working on lengthening your spine as you relax your chest to your thighs.
  3. Then, interlace your hands behind you in a double fist.
  4. You may press the heels of your palms together to increase the stretch in your shoulders.
  5. Then, lift your hands as high as you can. Inhale to shift your weight forward and lift your hips off your heels.
  6. Come to rest on the top of your head and extend your hands as close to the floor as you can.
  7. Maintain this pose for 10 seconds and then lower your hips back to your heels.
  8. Retain this posture for 10 seconds, and then lift your hips up again.
  9. Perform this cycle at least five times, then release into the child’s pose with your arms on either side of your legs.

2. Seated Neck Release Stretch

Seated neck release stretch helps relieve neck pain

This stretch targets the sides of your neck.

  1. Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Extend your right arm next to your right knee or along the right side of the chair.
  3. Place your left hand on the top of your head and slowly tilt your head to the left.
  4. Apply gentle pressure with your hand to increase the stretch.
  5. Maintain this pressure for 30 seconds, then slowly lift your head up and repeat the same stretch on the other side.

3. Behind The Back Neck Stretch

Behind the back neck stretch relieves neck pain

This standing stretch targets the sides of your neck.

  1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart, and the arms by your sides.
  2. Reach both hands behind your back and hold your left wrist with your right hand.
  3. Use your right hand to gently straighten your left arm and pull it away from you slightly.
  4. To increase the stretch in your neck, gently lower your right ear toward your shoulder.
  5. Retain this pose for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

4. Bridge Pose Neck Stretch

Bridge pose neck stretch helps reduce neck pain

This yoga pose stretches the back of your neck.

  1. Begin by lying flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body, with your palms facing down.
  2. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Walk your heels as close as you can to your buttocks, keeping them hip-width apart.
  4. Keeping both feet parallel, with your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips off the floor.
  5. Clasp your hands together below your pelvis, extending through your arms.
  6. Shift your weight from side-to-side to bring the shoulder blades closer together.
  7. Maintain the pose for 30 seconds, continuing to lift the hips as high as you can.
  8. To release this stretch, gently lower your buttocks back to the ground.
  9. Then, stretch through your lower back by hugging your knees into your chest.

5. Seated Clasping Neck Stretch

Seated clasping neck stretch helps relieve neck pain

This is a deep stretch for your neck and your upper back.

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor.
  2. Clasp your hands and bring both palms to the back of your head.
  3. Sit straight and ground your hips firmly into your seat.
  4. Then, gently press your hands down toward your thighs, tucking your chin into your chest.
  5. As you press down, to make the stretch more intense, use the heels of your palms to pull your head away from your shoulders.
  6. Retain the pose for at least 30 seconds, and then slowly lift your head up and release your hands.

Tips To Relieve A Painful Or Stiff Neck

  • Warm Compress – A stiff and sore neck is often the result of strained muscles. A warm compress can help relieve the pain. Lie down for maximum relaxation.
  • Rest – Giving you body the rest it badly needs is one way to relieve neck pain. But, if the pain persists despite restorative rest, consult your doctor.
  • Massage – A gentle massage can sometimes work wonders to alleviate pain in the neck. Make sure you get a massage from someone who knows the art. But, if the pain worsens, discontinue the massage to prevent further complications.
  • Pain Killers – Most pain killers can alleviate neck pain. But, these must be consumed as a last resort only as directed by a physician and may also have side-effects.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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