Learning how to stretch your neck safely and improve neck flexibility with stretching are extremely helpful tools in the prevention and management of neck and shoulder pain. Doctor recommended neck exercises, especially those for relieving stiffness in the neck and shoulders, are very popular with today’s top athletes.
Gentle neck stretches for decompressing your joints are and integral component of maintaining neck health. Once you learn how to stretch your neck correctly, you might find that just a few simple neck stretches can also improve your posture and increase your energy on a daily basis.
Be Careful: Please use caution and listen to your body while performing all stretches. Do not push your spine past its normal limits or use bouncing type motions. Let the weight of your head help traction out your neck muscles on the following stretches. You may want to perform these exercises in front of a mirror so that you can measure your progress and note any imbalances in the two sides.
Start in ready position. Slowly begin by bringing your chin toward your chest to a point that is comfortable for you. Hold for a few seconds. Then, bring your head back up to ready position and repeat stretch.
Start in a neutral ready position, then gradually bring your head backward into to a point that is comfortable. Hold for a few seconds. Return to ready position and repeat. Do not force this stretch. Slow and careful.
Return to ready position and then look over left shoulder (left rotation) as far as you can comfortably. Keep upper torso still. Return to ready position and then look over the right shoulder (right rotation). Return to ready position looking straight ahead and then look over the left shoulder. Left, right, left, right.
Neck Lateral Flexion
You will now finish the neck range of motion series with two sets of lateral flexion or side bends of the neck. Start in ready position looking straight ahead. With shoulders fixed, bring your left ear to your left shoulder. Hold for a few seconds and then bring your right ear to your right shoulder. Let the weight of your head help traction out your neck. Left, right, left, right.
Forward Shoulder Rolls
Starting in ready position, raise both shoulders to your ears in a rolling type motion and do 2 forward shoulder rolls. Roll slowly while moving only your shoulder joints and try to imagine them moving in a small, complete circle as you go.
Backward Shoulder Rolls
Now, reverse the order and do 2 backward shoulder rolls . Start in ready position and begin slowly rolling your shoulders backward, visualizing a complete circle as you go.