Neck pain is a very common complaint and tense muscles are usually to blame. Unfortunately, neck pain is often a result of the activities that we perform throughout our day such as working in front of a computer or sleeping in an awkward position. Check out our latest blog post for simple yet effective stretches to help manage that pain in your neck!
Levator Scapulae Stretch
The Levator Scapulae is responsible for lifting the shoulder blade up and down (elevating and rotating the shoulder blade upwards). It also helps support the proper alignment of your neck and head. People who work long hours sitting down, such as at a desk or driving for long periods of time, experience neck and shoulder pain related to poor alignment and support causing the levator scap to become tight.
This simple levator scapulae stretch can be done at the office or home and will help to alleviate tension and pain in your neck and shoulders.
From a standing position, bend one of your elbows and reach your hand behind your neck. Don’t worry about going too far, range of motion will vary from person to person. Gently turn your head away from your uplifted arm and hold for 30-45 seconds. For a deeper stretch, you can press your elbow against a wall to increase your range and rest your hand on your head.
Upper Trap Release
The trapezius is another muscle that often becomes tight and contributes to neck and shoulder pain. It is primarily responsible for shoulder movement and supporting your neck. The trapezius can become tight from a variety of activities such as working in front of a computer or desk for long periods of time, stress and anxiety, or even from sports that rely heavily on the shoulder like swimming and tennis. This upper trapezius release will help to loosen the tightness in your trap reduce pain in your neck and shoulders.
Start by lying down on your back and elevate your knees. Position a tennis ball behind your shoulder, just below your neck. Move arm up and down and roll your head from left to right pausing for 30-40 seconds to work out any tight spots. For a deeper massage and muscle release, try elevating your hips by placing a foam block under them.
General Neck Stretch
This is a great all around stretch that will benefit anyone with tightness in their neck.
Place a strap (like a dog leash, belt etc) across your chest and apply a bit of pressure by pulling down the strap with the opposite hand. As the strap holds down the shoulder, tilt your head away and slowly rotate your head up and down. Pause for 30-40 seconds to release any tight spots.