These neck pain relief stretches and exercises can help you relieve neck pain from a strain, spasm, or even if you just slept on your neck wrong. They can also help relieve tension headaches.
First start off with some gentle neck movements to warm up your muscles by turning your head from side to side like you are looking over your shoulder. This is neck rotation. Now you are going to take your ear to your shoulder on each side. Make sure you are not shrugging your shoulders up. This is side bending.
Next, the exercise is a simple chin tuck. You don’t want to tuck it down to your chest, but take your chin, and pull it backwards. You can put your finger on your chin, as a target or starting point, and then tuck it in. Hold it for about 3-5 seconds, and then relax. Do this about 3-5 times.
Now for a trapezius stretch, place your hand under your thigh to keep your shoulder down, then side bend your head to the opposite side and gently put pressure with your other hand to get a stretch through your trapezius muscles. Hold these for 30 seconds and perform 3 times on each side.
Then you will stretch your levator scapulae muscle. This is the muscle that is used when you shrug your shoulders, and they can get overworked when you are stressed out. Take your arm on the side of the pain and place it above and behind your shoulder. Then take your opposite arm and place on top and slightly behind your head. Look down towards the opposite knee of the pain and apply gentle pressure for a good stretch.
The next stretch is for the anterior scalene muscles. Cross you hand over to the side you want to stretch and place it on your clavicle to help hold down the first rib where they are attached. Turn your head toward that side and look upward. Hold these for 30 seconds and perform 3 times on each side.
The final exercises are isometric exercises that will help strengthen the muscles. You are going to do isometric exercises in each direction. Basically this is when you activate the muscle, but you are not moving it. You can do this by gently pressing into your hand in each direction. Hold each one of these for 3-5 seconds.