Physiotherapist giving neck massage to patient

Everyday Neck Stretches

Physiotherapist giving patient a neck massage

These stretches for the neck should be performed throughout the workday. When performed on a regular basis these stretches will improve flexibility and decrease stress on the neck and shoulder musculature.


Exercise 1: Scalene Stretch

Sit straight up in a chair with your shoulders relaxed. Keep your gaze straight ahead at eye level and your chin pointed down slightly. Slowly bend your head to the right side. Hold this stretch for 5-10 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat the exercise two more times. Then repeat the entire series on the left side.

Exercise 2: Upper Trapezius Stretch

Sit straight up in a chair with your shoulders relaxed. Bring your chin down toward your right collar bone as far as you can without rounding your upper back. Then turn your head slightly to the left. You should feel a pulling sensation in the left side of the neck. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Rest 10 seconds and repeat again twice on that side. Then perform the stretch on the opposite side three times.

Exercise 3: Sternocleidomastoid Stretch

Sit straight up in a chair with your shoulders relaxed. Turn your head to look behind you over your right shoulder. Keeping your · head turned to the right, slowly tilt your head to look up at the ceiling. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Rest 10 seconds and try it again twice more. Then try the stretch three times on the opposite side.

ISOMETRIC NECK EXERCISES

Exercise 1

Place your hands on your forehead. Push your hands gently against your forehead, resisting motion by tightening your neck muscles. Count to five slowly and then relax. Count to three during the rest period, then begin again. You may put your hands at your sides during the rest period. The first few times you do the exercise watch yourself in the mirror to see that your head does not move forward.

Exercise 2

Place your hands against the back of your head. Begin putting forward pressure against the back of your head and resist the movement with your neck muscles. Increase pressure for a count of 5. Relax for a count of three and begin again. As with Exercise 1, make sure you do not move your neck.

Physiotherapist giving neck and head massage to patient

Exercise 3

Place the right hand against the side of your head on the right side. Position your palm so that it is just above your ear. Begin by increasing the pressure exerted by your palm against the side of your head. Watch in a mirror to make sure that the head does not move. Increase the pressure for a count of 5, relax for a count of 3. Repeat using the left hand on the left side of your head.

Exercise 4

Place the palm of your right hand against the side of your head. Increase the pressure of your palm against the side of your head, resisting with your neck muscles. It is as if you were trying to turn your head and were being resisted by the palm of your hand. Increase the pressure for a count of 5, relax for a count of 3. Repeat using the left hand on the left side of your head. It is helpful to watch in the mirror to make sure you do not move your neck while doing the exercises.

Exercise 5

Stand with your shoulders relaxed and your arms at your sides. Gently shrug your shoulders pulling your shoulder upward toward your ears. Hold this position for a count of five then relax letting your shoulders fall to their resting position. Rest for a count of three then repeat. Start by performing the exercise five times. Increase the number of exercises as tolerated.

Exercise 4: Pelvic Tilt

Tilt Starting Position: Lie on your back on a table or film surface. Your feet are flat on the surface and the knees are bent. Action: Push the small of your back into the floor by pulling the lower abdominal muscles up and in. Hold your back flat while breathing easily in and out. Hold for five seconds. Do not hold breath.

Exercise 5: Pelvic Lift

Starting Position: Lie on your back on a table or flat surface. Your feet are flat on the surface and your knees are bent. Keep your legs together. Cross your arms over your chest. Action: Tilt your pelvis and push your low back to the floor. Next, slowly lift your buttocks off the floor as far as possible without straining. Maintain this position for 5 seconds. Lower your buttocks to the floor. Do not hold your breath.

Exercise 6: Hand-Knee Rocking

Starting Position: Kneel on a.mat with your knees and ankles. Allow your buttocks to rest on your heels. Action: Take your upper body over so you are in a crouched position with your arms stretched out in front of you. Relax in this position and then slowly move forward with your elbows straight into a press-up position.

Physiotherapist giving treatment to patient's knee

Exercise 1: Knee to Chest Perform

Perform 5 Repetitions Each

Starting Position: Lie on your back on a table or firm surface.

Action: Clasp your hands behind the thigh and pull it towards your chest. Keep the opposite leg flat on the surface of the table Maintain the position for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. You may perform this exercise while pulling both of your knees to your chest and holding for 15 seconds.

Exercise 2: Hip Rolling

Starting Position: Lie on your back on a table or firm surface. Both knees bent, feet flat on the table.

Action: Cross your arms over your chest. Turn your head (trunk) to the right as you turn both knees to the left. Allow your knees to relax and go down without forcing. Bring knees back up, head to center. Repeat to the other side.

Exercise 3: Cat and Camel

Starting Position: Kneel down on the floor and assume the “all-four’s” position. Keep your head straight so that the·gaze of your eyes is toward the floor.

Action: Slowly allow your trunk to sag as far as you can so that your back is arched. Do not, pull it down, but let it relax as you lift up your face towards the ceiling. Then round your back up at the waist as far as you can by contracting your lower abdominal muscles as you lower the top of your head toward the floor. All motion should be initiated from your low back. At each endpoint, hold for 5 seconds.

Physiotherapist giving back massage to patient

Incorporate these exercises into your routine for improved neck and back health today!

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