The Top 5 Exercises for a Stiff and Tight Neck
A few years ago, I suffered the worst neck injury from whiplash. My family and I were attending a conference in Hawaii when we got rear-ended while completely stopped. The impact was forceful and loud. We stepped out of our car and saw the guy standing on the street with a coconut drink in his hand. And while our rental car had a little dent, his was completely destroyed, nobody appeared to be injured.
However, a day later, my neck started hurting and I don’t remember much of the rest of the conference because my brain was in a fog. After months of care, I eventually recovered but my neck still occasionally gets tight and sore if I don’t pay attention to what I am doing.
I know that many of you have problems like this and nowadays even more so because of working from home, experiencing stress with juggling work, kids and long hours in front of the computer screen. Below, I will share a few things that give instant relief and can be done on your own at home.
Neck Side-bend Stretch for upper trapezius and levator scapulae
- If you get headaches on the side of your head, tightness at the top of your shoulders and neck stiffness, your Upper Trap and Levator muscles might be at fault. Do this exercise to feel better:
Reach one arm behind the back to drop the shoulder down. Gently place the opposite hand on the crown of the head as you side bend your neck. Look forward and down towards the armpit. Hold each for position 10 slow, deep breaths.
Angel Stretch for Scalenes
2. If you spend a lot of time in front of your computer, looking down and in a forward head position, try angel stretch to stretch your Scalenes.
Place your flat hand along your collarbone and pull downwards. Look up and away, to the opposite direction of your pull. You should feel the stretch in the front of the neck.
Towel SNAG Extension
3. If you wake up with a stiff neck, and can’t look up, try a towel snag with neck extension:
Use a towel or pillowcase for this stretch. Folding it diagonally gives a nice edge. Place the edge of the towel at the base of the skull. Pull forward as you extend backward to look up. Continue SLOW nodding motion 10 times, keeping pressure pulling forward on the towel.
Towel SNAG Rotation
4. If your neck feels stiff in the direction of rotation, use a towel to improve your ability to look over the shoulder:
Use a towel or pillowcase for this stretch. Folding it diagonally gives a nice edge. With the towel behind your neck, pull on your cheekbone to push your head as you turn to look to the side and back. Continue this SLOW rotation motion 10 times.
Lacrosse Ball Massage For suboccipitals
5. In the case of ocular headaches and back of the neck tightness, try this release to make it better:
This one is great for headaches! Use a lacrosse ball, small roller, or water bottle to put pressure on the muscles at the base of the skull. Massage by doing chin tucks, or slow nodding down.
Many of my clients have tried medications, chiropractic care, and massage. It is totally normal to feel frustrated with a lack of progression having tried so many other treatments prior. I want you to know that it is OK to feel like this. Medication only masks symptoms and it does not treat the root cause of the problem. Chiropractic does not address fault lines, soft tissue, muscle and joint imbalances. The cold truth is that a lot of health care providers and pharmaceutical companies do not want you to get better. Some of them actually want you to become dependent on their services and products. Massage helps but does not fix the problem entirely. Watching videos on YouTube is a useful tool but how would you know which one is good for you?
Neck pain, stiffness, and tightness takes a comprehensive approach with stretching, strengthening, manual work, postural, and cold laser therapy. In addition to this, a good maintenance program with proper home care is a must.
Finally, If you need our guidance, don’t worry, reach out and we will help. For a limited time, we are offering an accelerated neck pain program providing relief. It will take only 4 sessions and just 10 minutes a day! That being said, we only have 12 spots available.
Text Transform to 360-229-7988 to grab the spot and we will reach out to schedule.