Five Stretches for Neck Pain

In Health and Wellness

Five Stretches for Neck Pain

Whether it’s a stiff neck, muscle strain or pain from a spine condition, everyone has to deal with neck pain at some point or another. In more serious cases, chronic neck pain can disrupt nearly every part of your life, from work to family time to hobbies. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments and methods to relieve neck pain and improve range of motion. 

One of the simplest ways to help with aches, stiffness and limited movement is performing neck stretches. Gently stretching on a regular basis can help manage symptoms of neck injuries and conditions such as a herniated disc, especially when combined with other treatments. 


How Do Stretches Help with Neck Pain?

When performed correctly, stretching provides multiple benefits for people dealing with neck pain, including:

  • Loosening stiff muscles and connective tissue
  • Increasing circulation and flow of nutrients to the area
  • Helping to improve posture by focusing on proper neck positioning

If you are dealing with neck pain that has lasted more than a few days to a week, always see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Before beginning any stretching or exercise routine talk to your doctor or other qualified health professional about your physical limitations and what stretches are right for you. 


Try These Easy Stretches to Relieve Mild to Moderate Neck Pain

The best stretches for neck pain depend on the individual cause of the injury or condition, but some of the most commonly recommended neck pain stretches by doctors and physical therapists include the following. 


1. Neck Rotation

Perform a neck rotation by keeping your head pointed forward, slowly turning to the right, holding for 10 seconds and returning to the forward position. Repeat on your left side. Perform anywhere from five to 10 repetitions. 


2. Forward Neck Extension

For this stretch, slowly tilt your head back while keeping your spine straight until you are looking straight up and hold for five seconds. Slowly tilt your head forward until your chin is pointing toward the sternum and hold for another five seconds before returning to the starting position. Perform five to 10 repetitions depending on your comfort level. 


3. Lateral Neck Extension 

Lateral neck extension involves using your hand as resistance to gently pull your head toward the shoulder. Begin by slowly tilting your head to the right side by pulling with your right hand until you feel a stretch. Hold it for five seconds and slowly return to center. Repeat this with your left hand, gently pulling to your left shoulder. Do this five to 10 times. 


4. Tilted Forward Neck Flexion

Slowly and gently tilt your head forward toward your chin. You can place your hands behind your head for added resistance depending on your comfort level. Hold for five seconds. While keeping your head tilted forward, slowly turn your head to the right and hold for another five seconds. Return to center and turn your head to the left, holding for five seconds. Perform five repetitions. 


5. Neck Glide

A neck glide starts with the head pointing straight ahead. Slowly point your chin forward while keeping your head upright and centered. Hold for five seconds and return to center. Repeat 10 times. 


Fitting Neck Stretches into Your Pain Management Treatment Plan

Neck stretches can be performed throughout the day as needed to keep the neck loose and prevent stiffness and awkward positions. Make sure to stay hydrated and focus on posture to get the most out of stretches. 

Performing neck stretches yourself can be a great supplement to physical therapy sessions and therapeutic forms of exercise such as yoga or Pilates. Ask your physical therapist or trainer how to integrate stretches into your treatment or workout routine. 

For neck pain that becomes serious or does not improve with basic treatments and a healthy lifestyle, more involved treatment may be necessary. Interventional pain management techniques, including injections and nerve blocks, help many patients overcome neck pain. For upper spine conditions that don’t respond to conservative therapies, minimally invasive spine surgery can provide lasting relief with an outpatient, muscle sparing procedure. 

Physician Partners of America is dedicated to helping people living with neck pain become pain free with personalized treatment plans that can help a wide range of conditions and levels of severity. Contact our caring team today.  


Holly Self is a Graphic Design Specialist for Physician Partners of America. Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., Physician Partners of America (PPOA) is a fast-growing national healthcare company committed to combatting the opioid crisis through interventional pain management. Founded in 2013 with three employees, it has rapidly grown to more than 500, and manages a wide range of medical practices.

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