Stiff Neck: The 5 Best Neck Exercises For Your Stiff Neck
Do you have a stiff neck right now as you sit at your computer?
Would you like to know the best ways to relieve neck pain and stiffness?
Keep reading as I reveal the best ways to relieve a stiff neck.
Today we start with Sonia’s Stiff Neck and Pain Story.
Sonia’s stiff neck pain has been getting increasingly worse over the past few months. She works as an account executive for a local ad firm and sits at her computer for 8 -10 hours a day.
Like most people, she holds her head forward with her chin jutting out. As soon as she sits down she makes sure she is in what she thinks is the perfect posture.
Within a few minutes though, her chin starts to jut out and her head and upper back start to come forward. Within half an hour her neck and upper back are stiff.
Sonia’s done all the exercises that are supposed to be good for her, but nothing is working.
Does this sound like you? The problem lies with the balance of muscles and your posture.
Forward Head Posture: When you hold your head forward and your chin juts out while sitting in front of your computer for long periods of time, you end up doing two things to yourself.
- You stretch the muscles at the back of your neck and make them work harder to bring your head back to center. The more forward your head inclines, the harder your muscles have to work and the tighter they feel.
- When you shorten the muscles in the front and side of your neck it makes them less active.
When you have forward head posture the imbalance in muscles will give you headaches as well as neck pain.
But I’ve tried to correct my posture! For most people the correction only lasts as long as they do their exercises. That’s usually about two minutes. I’m not kidding!
So How Do I Correct My Forward Head Posture?
- The Wall Posture check
- Stretch your front neck muscles
- Stretch Your Trapezius and Levator Scapula
- Self treat Your Upper Back Muscles
- Recheck Your Posture
First you need to do The Wall Posture Check – standing against the wall, that I first learned from Craig Liebenson.
Wall Posture Check
- Stand facing away from the wall and put both feet against the wall.
- Find where your body touches the wall.
Correct Posture Should Be:
- Touching the wall at the: Hips, Shoulder blades, back of your head.
- Your flattened hand should just fit between your lower back and the wall.
- Your head should touch the wall flat without having to extend your neck backwards
Major Problems with Posture:
- Increased Lower Back Arch-Hyperlordosis :
- If you can fit a fist between your lower back and the wall this means your arch is too curved or you have hyperlordosis.
- Decreased Lower Back Arch-Hypolordosis:
- No room to put your fingers in-between the lower back and wall.
3. Increased Mid Back Arch- Kyphosis:
- Increased mid-back arch – when you cannot touch your head against the wall without extending your neck backwards.
- Forward head posture.
- Sway Back:
- No lower back arch with the forward head posture
#1. Treat Your Short and Tight Front Neck Muscles
- Put both hands on your chest just below the collar bone, pushing down.
- Extend your neck backwards and to opposite the side.
- Do 3 sets for 30 seconds on both sides several times a day.
#2. Treat Your Trapezius muscle
That’s one of the muscles that raises your shoulder. To stretch this muscle follow these steps.
- Let one shoulder relax and drop.
- Bend your neck sideways away from the shoulder that is relaxed.
- Put your left hand (for this picture) on your head and let the weight of your arm pull your head down.
- You should hold for 30 seconds or more for 3 sets. Do this exercise several times a day.
#3. Treat Your Levator Scapulae (Trapezius stretch modified.)
- Do the trapezius stretch.
- Gradually turn your chin toward the opposite shoulder while holding that stretched feeling.
- You should feel it on the same side you felt the trapezius stretch, but more in the neck area.
- Do 3 sets for 30 seconds on both sides.
#4. Treat Your Stiff Neck With Two Tennis Balls In A Sock.
- Put two tennis balls / hockey balls in a sock and tie the end of the sock.
- Neck Treatment: Lie face up and put the tennis balls on either side of the spine underneath the neck.
- Bridge up with your legs for the lower part of the neck.
- You will feel a deep ache, hold for 30 seconds to a minute then move on to exercise 5.
#5. Treat Your Upper Back Muscles To Help Your Stiff Neck.
- Same as the the neck treatment above except you put the tennis balls on your upper back.
- If you want more pressure, bridge with both arms crossed on your chest.
After doing the exercises, do your Wall Posture Check again to gauge your progress. Your neck is likely feeling a little less painful and is not as stiff now.
These exercises are designed to help your stiff neck pain and associated upper back pain. For a postural fix of the forward neck posture stay tuned over the next few weeks as we talk more about posture.
Tell us what you think in the comments below and like us on Facebook. This Toronto Downtown Chiropractor will answer all questions in the comments section.
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