Have you ever tried waking up to a painful neck? According to studies, thousands of Americans feel the same way. About 15 percent of the US population experience neck pain that lingers for an entire day. Some people experience worse symptoms due to underlying causes such as atlas subluxation, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and degenerative diseases. On the one hand, other people have an achy neck because of long hours spent working at a desk or poor body posture.
Thankfully, simple remedies such as neck stretches offer a glimmer of hope to ailing patients. If you’ve never tried doing neck stretching exercises, our examples might come in extra handy for you.
#1. Corner Stretch
The corner stretch provides the best deep muscle flexion for the chest and shoulders. It also helps improve posture and loosens up tight muscles, allowing you to minimize your risks for neck pain and other related problems. As the name suggests, this neck stretching exercise involves standing in the corner of the room and using your arms to support your body as you lean towards the wall.
Feel your chest muscles stretch as you push your body downwards. Then, you should hold your position for 15 seconds before relaxing and repeating the routine three times.
#2. Levator Scapulae Stretch
The levator scapulae is a pair of muscles attached to each shoulder blade and the base of the head. This muscle pair lifts the arms to the front and extends the cervical spine. They become painful or stiff if you often lean forward on your desk while you work. To ease the pain, you can follow the steps below:
- Sit up and place your right arm underneath your chair to press your shoulder muscles down
- Lift your left arm forward and rest your palm on the side of the head
- Using your hand, stretch your neck downwards and hold for 30 seconds
- Repeat on the right side
- Repeat the routine 2 to 3 times for each side each day
#3. Side Tilt
One of the best things about neck stretches is that they’re pretty easy to do. All you need in this specific stretching exercise is to tilt your head towards one side of the body until you feel that you’ve stretched it enough. Then, you repeat the same set of movements on the other side of your neck. Doing this short neck stretching routine every day can help release tension in your neck muscles and joints.
#4. Shoulder Shrugs
If you aim to improve your shoulder and neck muscle strength, we highly recommend adding shoulder shrugs to your routine. You can do it with or without using weights, depending on your preference and overall fitness goals. Here are the key steps to perform a shoulder shrug routine:
- Stand straight and relax your muscles
- Place both arms on the side of your body with your palms facing each other (if you wish to use a dumbbell, this is the time to lift them)
- Take a deep breath and lift your shoulder muscles as high as you can in a slow and relaxed manner
- Release your muscles and exhale
- Repeat for up to 3 sets with ten repetitions
Neck Stretches: How Often You Should Do Them
Doing neck stretches at regular intervals can benefit you if you work for long hours each day. They can get rid of the pain and improve blood flow to your brain when done correctly. Additionally, it can help minimize atlas subluxation, a common problem among working professionals and individuals who previously suffered from neck trauma.
Be sure to avoid overextending your muscles or cracking your neck. Studies explain that while the cracking sound might have a positive mental impact, it can increase your risk of getting injured if you don’t do it right or do it too frequently.
Your Cervical Spine Health and Upper Cervical Care
Indeed, caring for your cervical spine or neck plays a significant role in maintaining good health. That’s because while your neck may seem like a simple structure, it performs several crucial functions like supporting your head, facilitating head movements, and protecting the brainstem and the different cranial nerves.
If anything goes wrong because of neck trauma, atlas subluxation, or disc herniation, your neck will fail to perform its functions. It can also trigger chronic neck pain that doesn’t go away even after taking medication or getting a massage. Over time, the misaligned neck bones can affect your central nervous system, putting you at risk of developing other chronic pain disorders like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, migraines, and TMD.
That’s why besides doing the neck stretches mentioned above, we highly recommend going to an upper cervical chiropractic doctor to check for an atlas subluxation. If you get diagnosed with neck bone misalignment, your upper cervical care doctor can schedule your adjustments so you can begin correcting your misaligned cervical spine.
It’s a gentle and straightforward procedure involving advanced digital imaging techniques to gauge the degree of vertebral misalignment. Your neck chiropractor will provide you with the adjustments over a few weeks. While completing your chiropractic adjustments, you can begin noticing improvements in your neck pain. Over time, you can potentially put an end to your pain and discomfort too.
Plenty of patients have tried this approach and experienced massive relief from their achy necks. If you have tried every remedy you can find but still not seeing improvements with your symptoms, you can try upper cervical chiropractic. Talk to an upper cervical care practitioner in your city today!