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Manage your neck pain with these 6 decompressing stretches

Stiffness, soreness, and aching make neck pain, well, a real pain. After sitting at a desk for long hours or spending long days with little movement, it’s not uncommon for our necks to feel immobile.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to decompress and release neck tension. If you’re looking for some ideas on how to relieve your neck pain, keep reading for some of our tips and tricks!

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Forward and backward tilt

One of the first methods you should try for neck pain relief is the forward and backward tilt. In a standing or upright seated position, slowly tilt your head forward and back. As you tilt your head, try to tuck your chin as close to your chest as you can. You should feel the stretch at the back of your neck, assuring that those tight tendons are getting some movement.

This method works best when you hold the tilt for a few seconds, so as you lean your head down, hold your chin towards your chest for about ten seconds before tipping your head back again. You can hold the position as long as necessary to feel relief.

Side to side

Similarly, you can also tilt your head from side to side to stretch out a sore neck.

Set yourself up as you did for the position above, and tilt from side to side, holding for ten to thirty seconds. This position aids in mobility and relieves your neck of the tension that builds up when it doesn’t experience enough movement. 

woman sitting on floor and stretching her neck
Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

Circle rotation

Rotating your head in clockwise and counterclockwise circles is an excellent option for loosening the tension on all sides of your neck. 

It’s best to do this exercise in a standing position but that isn’t required. Simply start by leaning your head to one side and then bringing your chin down to your chest. Lean back up on the other side and tilt your head back before bringing it to the starting pose. Slowly complete these clockwise and counterclockwise circles a few times. Three circles in each direction are typically sufficient! 

Shoulder rolls

When we feel pain in our necks, it is often the result of misalignment or stiffness in our spine. Our shoulders, spine, and neck are all closely connected within the body, so relieving pain in one region can often treat pain in the others.

Shoulder rolls are a terrific solution for eliminating neck pain because they activate the top of the spine and promote neck mobility. Bring your shoulders up, as if you’re shrugging, and push them forward. Let them drop into a relaxing position and then repeat. You can do forward or try some reversed shoulder rolls to ensure you hit all the muscles you need to target.

Use a band

Bands are a common tool used in physical therapy and work wonders when decompressing the neck. Hold your band at both ends and pull it taut by extending both arms out to your side so that you are standing in a t-pose. Bring your hands back together, making sure to keep both arms extended, stretch them out to your sides once more.

This stretch is great for arm and back strength but is also wonderful for relieving unnecessary neck tension. You should feel the pull in your shoulders and at the top of your spine. This is crucial in eliminating neck pain, as this will stretch those stiff muscles all through the shoulders, spine, and neck.

person using equipment for a neck wall stretch
Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

Bend at the waist

There are several yoga poses that can relieve neck pain, even something as simple as bending at the waist.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, lean forward so that you are bending at the waist as if you were trying to touch your toes. Bring your arms together so that you’re grabbing your elbows and allow your shoulders to relax so that your arms can swing freely.

The weight of your arms being pulled to the ground will stretch the muscles in your upper back near the top of your spine where it meets your neck. It’s best to hold this position for about thirty seconds to get a full stretch.

If the soreness persists, you may need to contact a medical or healthcare professional who can help you with your condition.

Disclaimer: BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring. 

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