Most of us have experienced that little niggle in our necks when we’ve been working all day. Sitting staring at a computer all day with our shoulders slumped and our heads forward puts a lot of pressure on our necks which often causes discomfort.
The muscles in the arc of the neck become long and weak while the muscles in the front of the neck become tight. Often, a little bit of stretching and strengthening exercises every day can help alleviate that pain.
*Not all neck pain is the same. These recommendations should only be used as guidelines and if they make the neck worse, please do not hesitate to come in for a full body postural and injury assessment and let us help you.
These exercises will aim to strengthen the muscles in the back of our necks and top of the back in order to prevent the shoulders from slumping and keeping the head from falling forward.
Isometric Neck Extension:
Sit upright in a chair facing forward. Take one hand and place it on the back of your head. Push your head back and use your hand to resist the movement. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat these 5 times. You should feel the muscles in the back of your neck working.
Sit upright in your chair facing forward. Keeping your head upright, slightly tuck your chin in and gently slide your head backwards toward your spine. It should feel as if you are trying to make a double chin. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
Lying face down on the floor with your arms at a 45-degree angle from your head. Turn your arms so your thumbs are pointing to the ceiling. Keeping your forehead on the floor, raise your arms up and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat these 5 times.
Stretching both the front, back and sides of the neck are crucial in preventing neck pain. Stretching the front of the neck will keep your head from leaning forward whereas stretching the back of the neck will keep those muscles nice and loose and preventing stiffness and pain.
The Scalenes are a group of muscles in the front of the neck. There are 3 Scalene muscles on each side of the front part of your neck. Start by tilting your head back and then tilting it towards either shoulder. The stretch should be felt on the opposite side of the neck. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
The upper Trapezius muscle is the muscle you feel at the base of the back of your neck. This muscle often gets tight after sitting for long periods of time with our shoulders hunched over. To stretch this muscle, sit in an upright position, place one arm behind your back. Using the opposite arm, pull the head to the side feeling a stretch on the side of the neck. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
Levator Scapulae Stretch:
These muscles often get tight along with the trapezius after long periods of sitting with your shoulders hunched. To stretch this muscle, tilt your head down toward your armpit. Using the arm on the same side your head is tilted to, pull your head gently towards your armpit feeling the stretch in the upper back into the base of the neck. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
If you are struggling with any chronic neck pain or pain that does not subside with these exercises, please contact us to help sort it out before it is too late!