The neck plays a very vital role in the human body. It keeps your head and brain attached to the rest of your body while providing support and flexibility. This ever-constant load can weaken the neck, causing neck pain and increasing stress. If you feel neck pain when you turn your head, here are some exercises that can help prevent neck strain.
Getting ahead of neck problems is important, especially as these problems can affect the rest of the body and cause injuries down the cervical spine. Some exercises can improve your neck muscles and relieve neck pain.
In fact, neck exercises are key to any treatment plan for neck pain, and they are also great for keeping the pain at bay. These exercises can also strengthen your spine and improve your posture. So, let’s take an in-depth look at neck exercises and deep stretching exercises you can use to improve your health and posture and reduce neck pain.
Thoracic extension with a foam roller
The thoracic extension is a great exercise method that enables you to stretch out parts of your body to keep them mobile. This is especially great if you sit at a desk for long periods, which will affect your posture, spine, and neck.
For you to perform this exercise program properly, you will need a foam roller for support. If you have issues with slouching, this exercise will help you tilt your head properly so your eyes are level with the horizon, gazing straight ahead.
Here’s how to perform a thoracic extension with a foam roller:
- Sit on the ground with the foam roller placed perpendicular to your spine. It should also be at the level of your shoulder blades.
- Next, support your neck and head with your hands, keeping your head off the ground while facing the ceiling.
- Roll back gently, slowly slide and stop when you feel comfortable with the distance you’ve rolled.
- While rolling, you can extend your neck a little while your hands remain to support your head. You shouldn’t let your head fall. The neck stretches and neck extension can improve the muscles within the neck.
- Tuck your chin forward, slowly raise yourself, and repeat around ten times. Remember to look straight ahead and ensure your bottom is on the floor throughout the exercise.
The Wall Angel Exercise for neck stretches
Spending extended periods hunched over a laptop each day can cause some posture problems, which can inevitably lead to a hunched back and forward head position. This is because the muscles in your chest area will shorten, while those between your shoulder blades will weaken.
This is where Wall Angel comes in. It can be a tough exercise, depending on how much mobility exercising you currently do. It is certainly advanced for most newbies.
The aim of the exercise is to mobilize your shoulder girdle, stretch the chest muscles, decrease the forward head position, and strengthen back muscles. It can also reduce shoulder pain and prevent neck strain. With stronger back muscles and a proper head position, your neck won’t do so much work, leaving you to slump forward. This can help reduce neck pain.
Here’s how to do the exercise:
- While leaning your back against the wall, keep your both feet about 6-12 inches from the wall while your knees are bent only slightly
- Slowly lean your mid-back against the wall, keep your lower back against the wall, with your posterior pelvic titled.
- Slightly tuck your chin to lengthen your neck. Keep your chin tucked while gently placing your head back against the wall.
- Slowly lower your shoulders away from your ears, and bring your arms towards 90 degrees. Slowly place your elbows against the wall, and then place the back of your hands as well.
- Straighten your arms slowly, but do so above your head in a Y position. While doing this, maintain contact with the wall. Your entire back, head, hands, and elbows should be touching the wall while your shoulders stay down. You can also put some pressure on the wall.
You can do three to ten sets daily, with slow and controlled repetitions. This exercise will improve your neck muscles and help you remain mobile.
Cobra Pose Exercise to relieve neck pain
This all-in-one exercise is highly notable for how accessible and efficient it is. The Cobra pose is taught across all levels of yoga, and it focuses on backbends that can help your spine. It is also a notable practice that has made waves in sports medicine. It also places body weight as a focus and can help reduce it.
The main focus of the Cobra pose is to counteract the constant forward motion that we often make during the day. Many of the rounded shapes we make are often due to the computers and devices that we use. The backbends of the Cobra pose will have your spine arched backward, which is known as the spinal extension. Here’s how to get started with the Cobra pose:
- The origin of the motion starts with you lying flat on your stomach, then place your palms on the ground, directly under your shoulders. Then bend your elbows straight back and keep them near your sides.
- Pause in that position while looking straight down at your mat, keeping your neck in a neutral position. Then anchor your pubic bone to the ground.
- Inhale and lift your chest from the floor, roll your shoulders backward, and keep your lower ribs to the ground. Ensure your elbows are in the same position as they were at the start.
- Maintain your neck in its steady position without bringing it up. Keep your gaze to the floor.
- Release your body back to the original position while you exhale. Then repeat for a half hour.
Neck exercises are beneficial for people dealing with simple neck pain, neck ache, and poor posture. However, it is also possible to use these easy stretching exercises for preventive care to ensure that the neck muscles remain strong. It also strengthens the shoulder muscles and back muscles, keeping them strong enough to aid the body’s good posture and maintain the spine’s shape.
These three exercises can help you relieve neck strain and build more flexible muscles. You will also improve the strength of your cervical spine. Because these exercises tend to stretch many muscles in the body, you will find that they can also help with knee pain. When the muscles are stronger, the soft tissues in your neck can resist strain when you turn your head and injury prevention will become easier.
Besides the above-mentioned exercises, you can also take preventive measures to avoid neck pain. It is important to take breaks while you work, as long periods of working on your laptop in a static position can cause pain and sore muscles. Taking constant breaks is the best preventive medicine against the potential pain that will come with many hours spent hunched over a laptop.