Exercise can alleviate neck pain without the risk of side effects that medications can cause. The best part? You can do neck pain exercises right at home.
Three Types of Neck Pain Exercise
There are three main types of neck pain exercise, and they each bring different benefits:
- Pain-relieving exercise – alleviates pain and restores full range of motion
- Stretching exercise – makes your neck muscles more flexible and relaxed, which can also help to decrease pain
- Strengthening exercise – makes your neck muscles stronger and improves your posture and stability, which can also help to decrease pain
What Neck Exercise Can Do for You
When you work on strengthening and relaxing your neck muscles, they provide greater stability–that goes a long way toward improving your posture (and good posture helps prevent neck pain). In addition to working your neck, performing regular exercise to stretch and strengthen your back muscles can help alleviate neck pain and prevent it from recurring.
Neck exercises are relatively easy to do, and you can accomplish a lot in a small amount of time. As a rule of thumb, performing neck strengthening exercises every other day is ideal because it gives your muscles time to recover on the “off” days. Stretching exercises are different. Rather than strengthening or tensing muscles, they relax them. Stretching can be done daily, or even more than once a day if you find it beneficial.
Remember: If you have a neck injury, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Get medical attention right away if you experience any new or unusual symptoms!
Lean into It
Consider starting with this basic neck exercise:
- Create a loop with a resistance band and tie it securely to a nearby object.
- Sit on a chair in front of the object, and place the loop comfortably around your head.
- Sit up straight in the chair. Make sure the loop is level.
- Keep your neck and back straight as you slowly lean forward from your hips.
- Continue leaning as far forward as you are comfortable to (until you’ve leaned about 12 inches).
- Slowly return to your original position while keeping your back, shoulders, and neck straight.
- Repeat up to 15 times.
Remember: Never push yourself to exercise during pain! See a doctor right away if your neck pain radiates down your arm, or you feel numbness or tingling.
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