Neck Stretches – Strengthening

DO NOT CONTINUE WITH ANY EXERCISE THAT INCREASES YOUR PAIN.  
You should feel a stretch but not pain.
Try to relax 
into the stretch.

SIDE STRETCHES  – Advanced Upper Trap Stretch – (video shows left side stretch)

  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position
  • Move your head slightly to the right, bringing your ear closer to your shoulder
  • Slide your left shoulders blade down along your rib cage (If you are tight this movement will be very small)
  • Move your chest laterally to the left – This will shift your weight onto your left buttocks and un-weight the right
  • (see supple spine page for details)
    Upper Trap thumbnail
  • Keeping your chin in  – rotate your head up and to the right slightly
  • Relax and hold for 10- 15 seconds
  • You should feel a stretch on the left side on the shoulder/ neck. 
  • Stop if you feel pain/ discomfort/ impingement on the right or if you feel any symptoms in the right arm/ hand.

 

CHIN TUCK

  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position
  • Pinch your shoulder blades together
  • Bring your chin back so it is in line with your shoulder and hip(see video)
  • Keep eyes level – do not look up or down
  • This is a very small movement of your head, do not push back too hard.
  • Keep your shoulders down
  • Relax and hold for 5-20 seconds
  • Stop if pain is increased or has moved into the arm, or toward the hand.

 

Neck Stretching Rotation

  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position
  • Sit up straight – pinch shoulder blades – tuck in chin.
  • Turn head to left – pull right shoulder blade back
    • Relax and hold for 10- 15 seconds
  • Bring head back to the center
  • Turn head to right – pull left shoulder blade back
    • Relax and hold for 10- 15 seconds

Left Levator Scapulae Stretch

  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position
  • Place your left hand on your back – between your shoulder blades
  • Your elbow should point toward the ceiling
  • Turn your head to the right and bend forward-looking toward your right armpit
  • Place your right had on your head to add the weight of your arm to the stretch 
  • Do not pull on your head with your handLevator Scapula
  • Make sure your elbow is still pointing toward the ceiling 
  • Relax and hold for 10- 15 seconds

  1.  Left Rhomboid  – Between Shoulder Blades Stretch 
    • Sit or stand in a comfortable position
    • Put left arm in front of your body – forearm perpendicular to the floor
    • Turn left palm toward your face
    • Continue turning as far as you canRhomboid
    • Grab left elbow with right hand and pull left arm across your chest
    • Forearm remains perpendicular to the floor

Left SCM  – Sternocleidomastoid Stretch

  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position
  • Move your head slightly to the right, bringing your ear closer to your shoulder 
  • Slide your left shoulders blade down along your rib cage (If you are tight this movement will be very small)
  • Move your chest laterally to the left – This will shift your weight onto your left buttocks and un-weight the right
  • (see supple spine page for details)SCM thumbnail
  • Tilt head up from raising your jaw upward
  • You should feel a stretch along the front left side of your neck


 

  • Discontinue any exercises that increase pain or that causes pain to move towards the hand (i.e.: pain moves from the shoulder to arm or arm to hand).
  • Gradually increase the frequency and repetitions of any exercise that helps you feel better.

Exercises To Avoid

Many common exercises actually increase the risk of low neck pain. Avoid the following:

  • neck circles.
  • bending the neck forward or looking up.

When you are feeling better you can begin some strengthening exercises for the neck and upper back.  Some gentle but effective exercises are shown below:

IF these exercises cause pain  – stop and go back to the basic stretches – Use ice if pain persists.  

The key is to keep your ear shoulder and hip in a straight line and do not tilt head up.

EXERCISE 1

Let chin rest on the ball

ball
Try moving slower than the video

Roll forward on ball and hold
Keep chin tucked in 

Ear shoulder and hip are in a straight line
Hold 5-10 seconds – repeat 5-10 times

 

EXERCISE 2

Roll forward on ball and hold
(see exercise#1)

ball-add
Try moving slower than the video

Bring elbows up
Pinch shoulder blades together 

Keep chin tucked in

Hold 5-10 seconds – repeat 5-10 times

EXERCISE 3

Roll forward on ball and hold
(see exercise#1) 

ball-alt
Try moving slower than the video

Alternate reaching arms forward and back

Keep chin tucked in

Hold 5-10 seconds – repeat 5-10 times

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