7 Effective Exercises to Soothe Neck Pain
There are various reasons for neck pain, such as not warming-up or stretching enough before working out, or jolting your neck too fast. It’s important to remember that the neck joint i.e., cervical spine is an extremely sensitive area and needs to be taken care of at all times.
It’s always beneficial to know effective exercises for neck pain. Considering no body part is immune to pain, it’s next to impossible to predict when and where your neck may start aching.
7 exercises to relieve neck pain
To stay injury-free or soothe neck pain, there are some basic movements that one must know. It’s a good habit to incorporate some of the stretches/exercises for neck pain relief in the daily routine to ensure a stronger and more flexible neck.
1) Neck extension & flexion (forward & backward)
To do a neck extension:
- Stand straight and slowly bend your neck backwards (extension). Keep looking upwards and ensure your shoulders and back are at rest.
- Once you feel the stretch along your throat, hold for 2-seconds before coming back to the neutral position (starting position).
To do a neck flexion:
- Gently bend your neck forward, moving your chin towards your chest. Upon doing this, you will feel a stretch at the back of your neck.
- Hold this for between 2-seconds and 5-seconds and move back to the neutral position.
2) Side-to-side bending
To do this exercise:
- Stand straight with your shoulders relaxed. Gently bend your neck sideways. For example, take your left ear towards your left shoulder, and you will feel a stretch along the right side of your neck.
- Hold the position for 5-seconds and return to the starting position and repeat for the right side.
3) Neck rotation
This exercise is essentially a combination of side bending and extension & flexion and should be performed with care. Doing this too quickly could result in the joint absorbing a sudden shock.
To do this stretch, simply stand straight and slowly start rotating your head from the neck. You should be able to feel the stretch and power of reps at every point. Always come back to the neutral position and try to do it both clockwise and anti-clockwise.
4) Sideward neck stretch
Say goodbye to neck pain and stiffness with the sideward stretch. For this movement, first ensure you are either standing or sitting completely straight. Next, turn towards one of the sides and attempt to look back as much as possible. You will feel a stretch on the right side of your neck when you look towards the left and vice versa.
This exercise will ease neck pain right along the side of the cervical spine and also help relieve muscle strain in the neck.
5) Shoulder rotation
Rotating the shoulders can be one of the best neck stretches to ease neck pain. The idea is to relax the shoulders, followed by slightly lifting and rotating the shoulders at a slow, measured pace.
This exercise helps in releasing tension from the shoulders, which in turn reduces the stiffness of the neck and helps with range of motion.
6) Quadruped T-spine rotation
This exercise not only helps with easing neck pain but also helps with mobility. To perform this exercise:
- Go on all fours and maintain a neutral position for your spine.
- Next, hold the back of your head with one palm, and move your elbows towards the ceiling. Turn your elbows, shoulders, and head as much as you can, and you will feel a stretch on your cervical spine.
- Once you feel the stretch, hold the position for 2-seconds before backing down. Do not stop at the starting position, instead push your elbows inwards, between your knees and supporting hand.
- Continue this move for a couple of reps before changing sides.
7) Massaging your neck
While there are several effective exercises to reduce neck pain, massaging your neck works like magic. The idea is to put slight pressure on the affected area and massage it until the pain soothes. Don't press down too hard, as that would have the opposite effect.
Try moving in a rotational direction to effectively spread out the pressure throughout the hurt area for an effective stiff neck remedy.
The do's and don'ts to avoid neck pain
Knowing how to ease neck pain is beneficial, but it is important to know what you should incorporate into your daily lifestyle to avoid neck pain and feeling of stiffness altogether.
What to do to avoid neck pain:
- Maintain a proper posture.
- Keep your laptop or computer at eye level.
- Stretch frequently and move around every half an hour.
- Drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
Things you shouldn't do if you want a pain-free neck:
- Do not slouch your shoulders or back when walking or sitting down.
- Do not stare down on your phone.
- Do not sleep on a worn-out or old mattress as it disrupts the overall pressure on your back and neck.
- Do not miss out on doing the daily stretches and exercises which ease neck pain.
It is never wise to ignore neck pain or any type of joint pain. While not all of them are serious, some of them could lead to bigger problems if not addressed early.
If the pain does not cease after exercising and massaging, you must immediately consult a medical professional.