Similar to back discomfort, neck pain can easily be prevented and often relieved through regularly practicing a variety of neck exercises. At Straight Up Chiropractic, we believe part of our job is to not just to great patients with pain, but to help them prevent it in the future as well. For this reasons, we enjoy passing on valuable resources to them, such as our favorite stretches to prevent and alleviate neck pain…
Static Back Exercise
For this exercise you want to lie on the floor, placing your legs on either a chair on an ottoman. The key is to have you knees and hips creating a 90-degree angle, with your arms on the floor (palms up) at either a 45-degree angle or shoulder level. This exercise is working to place your head in the same plane as your shoulders, as this allows your muscles in your neck and upper back to release. The goal is to remain in this position until you back settles into the floor, this typically takes 5-10 minutes for most patients.
Static Extension Position
Start in a “table top” position, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Slowly walk your hands out about six inches in front of you, then shift your body forward until your shoulders stack right above your wrists. (Your hips should now be about six inches in front of your knees.) You want your elbows locked out straight and your shoulder blades collapsing together. Allow your head to hand, as it is vital to allow your neck muscles to release. Relax your stomach, allowing your low back to arch. Hold this position for two minutes. (Be sure not to bend your elbows.)
Static Wall Exercise
Lie on the floor, scooting all the way into the wall so that your legs are straight up it. You want your tailbone to remain flat on the floor, so if you are stiff in your hamstrings, you may need to scoot back some. It is important to keep your feet about hip-width apart, and your foot flexed toward you. Pull your toes back and tighten your thighs. Hold this position for three minutes. (To make more difficult you can lift one foot at a time off the wall 2-3 inches, keeping you leg straight.) The goal of this exercise is to release the muscles of your neck, and upper back as your thoracic back extends against the floor.
Sitting Floor Stretch
For this exercise, you want to be sitting on the floor, (easiest with your) back against the wall and your feet hip-width apart. You want to pull your shoulder blades together and down, as you tighten your thighs and flex your feet (pulling your toes toward you). You want to keep your feet straight and your head touching the wall at all times. Hold this position for three minutes. This exercise strengthens the muscles that align your spine and shoulders.
You want to lay on the floor with your feet together, your knees apart, and your palms facing up on the floor. Your arms should be at a 45-degree angle from your body. Hold this position for two minutes, allowing your low back to arch naturally off of the floor. Frog stretch is also an excellent way to release your groin and inner thighs. It is also important to allow your neck, jaw and upper back relax during this exercise as well.
Doing these stretches daily can make a huge different in how your neck and even your back feel on a regular basis. In fact, all of these exercises can be done in the convenience of your own home. Routinely stretching doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Flexibility plays a bigger role in our life than most of us realize and stretching for 30 minutes per day may be the difference you need. We understand that many of our patients live busy lives and this is why we only recommend exercises we know are fast, simple and be done at home (with no additional equipment or trainers needed). For more pain relieving stretches or to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us.