Neck Pain Exercises – The Best Movements Against A Stiff Neck!
There is hardly anything as annoying and uncomfortable as a stiff neck. Sitting in front of the computer for hours at work, watching TV at home and constantly checking your smartphone – all of these are movements that actually put a lot of strain on our neck muscles. Stinging back pain and neck or shoulder pain are among the most common complaints today. In fact, around 50% of all Germans suffer from a stiff neck at least once a year. It also affects women almost twice as often as men. If the pain does not subside after 2 to 3 months and occurs again and again, then one speaks of chronic neck pain and at the latest then you should definitely consult a doctor. But so that it doesn't get that far, we have put together the most effective neck pain exercises for you, with which you can relax the muscles and strengthen them at the same time!
Neck pain occurs mainly in the area of the back of the head or in the entire arm-shoulder area. In some cases, severe headaches are the result. While it is good to rest and give your body a little break, it is also particularly important to keep your neck moving to relieve muscle tension. Since no special equipment is required for most neck pain exercises, you can do this both at home and in the office.
What are the most common causes of neck pain?
In order to prevent future pain and tension in the neck area, it is extremely important what causes it. Before we start the exercises, we will first introduce you to the most common causes of neck pain.
- Bad posture
- Lack of mobility of the thoracic spine due to sitting for too long
- Lack of exercise
- Unfavorable sleeping position
- Stress and mental stress
- Weak immune system
- Injuries and muscle strains during sports
What are the best neck pain exercises and what should you look out for?
A typical exercise program against stiff neck consists of a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises and endurance training. While stretching exercises stimulate the elasticity of the joints, specific strengthening exercises help improve posture. This in turn can reduce or even prevent recurring outbreaks of pain. Endurance training in the form of running, jogging or cycling stimulates the blood circulation and relieves muscle tension in the neck and shoulder area. We recommend that you choose 6 to 8 of the following exercises for neck pain and do them 3 to 4 times a day for at least 6 weeks.
Exercises to stretch the neck muscles
Use these exercises to fight the neck and shoulder pain! To warm up the muscles and prepare for the stress, apply a heating pad for about 10 minutes before training. However, doing the right exercises with the wrong technique will not help and can even make the symptoms worse. It is therefore important to ensure that the execution is clean and slow. If you feel too much pain while performing, stop immediately and seek advice from a doctor.
- Stretch neck with forward and backward movement – You can do this stretching exercise both while sitting and standing. Keep the movements slow and controlled. Tighten your back and keep it straight and look ahead. Then lower your chin towards your chest and hold it down for about 20 seconds. Lift your head back up and then lower it back so that your chin is facing the ceiling. Hold down for 10 seconds and return to the start position. Do 20 repetitions.
- Stretch the neck sideways – This will stretch the muscles on both sides of the neck. Stand or sit on a chair with your back straight. Lower your shoulder to the floor and pull your chin in. Then carefully tilt your head to the right side without turning it and try to touch the shoulder with your ear. Hold down for 10 seconds and return to the starting position. Now repeat the exercise with the left side. To increase the stretch, you can grab your head by hand and then gently push it to the side. Do between 15-20 repetitions per side.
- Turn your head is one of the most popular and easiest neck pain exercises at home or for the office. Keep your head and back straight and then slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a stretch in the shoulder and neck area. Hold for 15-30 seconds and change sides. Do 10 to 15 repetitions per side.
- Extend your arms – This exercise relieves tension in the neck and shoulders and can even relieve headaches. Stand your feet waist-wide and keep your back straight. Raise your arms over your head and stretch them out. From this position, lean slightly to the left and hold for 10 seconds. Then repeat with the right side and hold for another 10 minutes.
- Body rotation – Neck pain exercises like this are great for mobilizing and strengthening your spine. To do this, place your feet hip-width apart, raise your arms at chest height and fold your hands. Now bend your right leg slightly and slowly turn it to the left and at the same time turn your upper body to the right. Make sure that your spine and head remain straight. Do 10 repetitions and repeat with the left side.
Exercises for shoulder and neck pain
The pain in the neck area is often accompanied by uncomfortable shoulder tension. For this reason, we have put together some effective shoulder neck pain exercises that will help you to loosen up the feeling of tension in no time.
- Turn shoulder – The circular movements stimulate the blood circulation in the neck and provide relaxation in the shoulders. Stand up straight and keep your back straight. Look forward and let your arms hang loosely. Then pull your shoulders towards your ears and make 20 circles backwards and then forwards.
- Raise your shoulder – So simple, yet incredibly effective, to stimulate blood flow and relax muscles, all you have to do is lift your shoulders towards your ears and hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat 15 to 20 times.
- Wall press is one of the best neck pain exercises that you can use to strengthen your shoulder muscles. Stand in front of a wall about 1 meter away and carefully let yourself fall forward. Hold for 10 seconds and push your body off the wall with your hands.
Yoga exercises neck pain
Whether with a stiff neck or back pain exercises – yoga is a tried and tested remedy for a variety of ailments and helps to strengthen our mind and body.
- The bridge – This is a classic yoga exercise that not only relaxes the neck muscles, but also trains the buttocks and legs. Lie on your back with your arms on the sides of your body. Bend your knees slightly and place your feet flat on the floor a foot's breadth. Lift the hip slightly off the floor and hold the position for 10 seconds. Then continue lifting until the body forms a straight line. Then alternately pull your knees towards your chest. Do 5 repetitions per leg.
- Child position – Kneel with your knees hip-width apart and your big toes touching. Exhale deeply and slowly lean forward and rest your forehead on the floor. Place the arms on the side of the body so that the palms face up. Remain in the position for at least 1 minute.
- The cow-cat position is one of the most popular and effective yoga neck pain exercises and is also ideal for relieving tension in the upper and lower back. Go to the classic four-legged stand, with your knees under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders. Take a deep breath and slowly bend your back as you exhale. Pull your chin to your chest and retract your navel – that's the cat position. Now slowly move to the “cow position” by moving the body in the opposite direction. Raise your head, relax your stomach and bend your elbows slightly to form a light hollow back. Make sure that the shoulders are not raised, but remain relaxed. Now repeat the movement in the described sequence 10-12 times.
- Eagle arms – This yoga exercise is for the more advanced and is ideal for stretching the side muscles. Sit on the floor and keep your back straight. Extend your arms forward and cross your right arm over your left. It becomes even more effective if you bring your palms together. Now bend your elbows so that your arms are facing the ceiling. Now pull your chin towards your chest and raise your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Hold the position for 20-30 seconds, change hands and repeat. Do a total of 10 repetitions.
- Sitting mountain position is an excellent neck pain exercise that stretches the spine and relieves tension in the upper back. Sit upright on the floor, cross-legged, arms out in front of your chest and your fingers crossed. Then stretch your arms over your head and lightly touch your ears. Make sure that your elbows are not bent. Push as far up as possible and hold for 10 seconds.
- The dolphin stance – While stretching exercises are important to relax the muscles, strengthening exercises are also of great importance. This yoga exercise serves to strengthen the muscles surrounding the neck and is therefore highly recommended. Start in the classic four-footed position and bring the forearms to the floor. Place your feet waist-wide and your elbows directly under your shoulder joints. Take a deep breath and push your head in front of your hands so that your torso is parallel to the floor. Keep your legs straight during the exercise. Exhale and push your buttocks up. Do 10 repetitions.
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