Neck pain can be caused by any number of different things: stress at work, “text neck,” injury, or chronic illness. Addressing the root cause of neck pain is the most important way to approach full healing, but addressing the ache is important, too. Neck pain exercises and stretches for neck pain are a simple way to provide pain relief and increase range of motion.
35 neck pain exercises and stretches that can help you find relief
When neck pain hits, stretching out those muscles works out any kinks, tightness, or tension that may be causing the discomfort. Releasing tension from neck and shoulder muscles may also help reduce the frequency of tension headaches. These easy neck pain exercises and stretches for neck pain can be done anywhere and take just a few minutes to complete. Try several of these neck pain exercises to see which one works the best for your pain. When performing these exercises for neck pain, take care to listen to your body and avoid pushing it too far.
1. Side neck stretch
From a neutral position, gently let the head fall down to the right shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds before completing the same stretch on the other side. Repeat the stretch 2 to 3 times on each side. Keep the shoulders down and relaxed. If you’d like a little extra stretch, place a hand gently on top of the head, letting the weight push the head down a little further. If you feel any pain, ease off.
2. Rotation neck stretch
Start in a neutral position before slowly turning the head to the right, keeping the chin level. Turn the head as far as possible while looking over the right shoulder. Hold at the maximum stretch for about 10 seconds. Return to neutral and repeat on the other side.
3. Isometric neck exercises
Stretching may help alleviate pain, but doing neck pain exercises with resistance has been proven to provide as much as four times the benefit, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The exercise for neck pain tested in the study used resistance bands, but a similar effect can be achieved by using the hands.
Try holding the palm of the right hand against head, directly above the ear. Gently push the head and the hand into each other while keeping the neck in a neutral position for about six seconds. Rest for ten seconds and repeat on the same side. Then, complete two repetitions on the left side.