When neck pain has got you down, it can bring your workday to a screeching halt with little to no warning. As deadlines loom, a headache can quickly join the party, making it even harder to get your work done. Thankfully, you can head off these problems at the pass by working some stretches into each and every day. The little bit of downtime it takes promises to do a whole lot of good, making it well worth the effort.
Preparing for Relief from Neck Pain
Before you get started in stretching out the muscles in your neck, there are a few best practices to keep in mind, such as:
- Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor
- Keep your shoulders back and neck in a neutral position
- Move slowly in and out of the stretch
- Focus on feeling the inner structures loosen
- Only push into the stretch until you feel light pressure
- Never move in a way that causes pain
When you keep these tips in mind, you should feel your neck loosen up with every stretch and avoid ending up in pain. If you find stretches make everything worse, a trip to the doctor is your next step.
Otherwise, repeat the neck stretches twice a day to prevent pain. You can also work through the stretches whenever you feel tension building in your neck and shoulders.
Stretches That Help Relieve Neck Pain
Your neck is a complex structure with muscles, tendons, and other tissues all working in tight quarters. For that reason, just one stretch will not cut it, as you have to come from all angles to loosen everything up. To hit all the key points, work through the following stretches until you feel the tension dissipate.
At either side of your neck are the sternocleidomastoid muscles, which attach to the base of your head and extend down to the collarbone. So, when pressure builds at the back or sides of your neck, these muscles may be to blame.
To stretch it out, you can simply tilt your head to the side, putting your ear to your shoulder. If you cannot make it all the way down, do not fret, just go as low as you can. Hold for up to 10 seconds, then slowly return your head to the starting position. Then, switch to the other side. Repeat both sides 10 times each.
As they tighten up, the scalene and suboccipital muscles can quickly cause tension headaches to arise. Since these muscles are grouped in hard to reach areas, they can be difficult to massage enough to loosen. Thankfully, you can use a chin tuck stretch to activate both groups, helping relieve the tension stored there.
To complete the chin tuck stretch, gently tilt your head downward while pulling your chin in toward the base of your neck. If you do this stretch right, your head, neck, and back will create a straight line. Hold this position for five seconds, and then release. Repeat about 10 times per session for the best results.
Flexion and Extension
To stretch nearly every structure in your neck at once, you can move through the flexion and extension stretches. You will start by tilting your head downward in an attempt to touch your chin to your chest. Hold for up to 30 seconds, then return to a neutral position.
Then, you will need to go in the opposite direction, lifting your chin up toward the ceiling. Hold for up to 15 seconds, then return to neutral. Repeat this set of stretches up to 10 times to quickly loosen up.
In addition to completing these stretches, you can work on making your workstation more ergonomic. As you move your monitor, keyboard, and other equipment to the perfect position for your needs, strain on your neck will decrease. You can then finish out your workdays without discomfort, especially if you keep taking breaks for these stretches along the way.
Once you are ready to write, all that is left to do is log in to WriterAccess to start getting your work done. So, get your workstation ready and keep these stretches on hand to move forward in meeting your deadlines and reaching your goals.
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