Stretches for When Your Neck Hurts That Bad

We really do ask a lot of our necks, every single day.  We don't rest them enough, we slouch, we force them to bend forward and look at our phones way too much.  We carry all the stress of our daily lives up there.  And to top it all off, we ask them to hold up our heads our day.  

We can't really blame them for getting extra stiff and sore sometimes.  The next time your neck starts fighting back, try a few deep breaths and a couple of these stretches for some relief.  Plus remember to drink plenty of water and maybe use some ice or heat for extra help.  

- Drop your chin to your chest and slowly roll your neck to either side.  Breathing through the motion, go to your point of comfort and pause for an extra slow breath at any point of resistance or discomfort.  If your neck will allow, slowly and carefully roll it in a complete circle, looking up to your point of comfort at the 180 degree mark.  Repeat series in the other direction.

- Reach your left hand up over your head to lightly press your fingers against your right temple. Gently press your head over toward your left shoulder until your point of comfort.  When you reach a stopping point, pause, breathe, and gently tip your chin down toward your collarbone and back up toward the sky.  Repeat on the other side.

- Lying flat on your back, withheels, hips, and shoulders on a yoga mat, carefully shimmy your heels and shoulders to the left, keeping all three sets of joints facing the ceiling until you feel a stretch up the right side of your body.  Reach your right arm over your head, lying flat with your shoulder relaxed, and turn your head to look left.  Breathing slowly and deeply, scan your body for points of tension or resistance, and focus on relaxing them.  Remain in that position for up to 5 minutes or until your point of comfort.  Slowly return to a neutral position, lifting your right arm with your left hand before returning both arms to your sides.  Pause for a few seconds before repeating on the other side.

- Find child's pose, kneeling on your shins and folded forward at the hips so that your forehead approaches or finds the floor and your arms are extended and relaxed in front of you.  Spread your knees apart so that your upper body can soften and relax, letting your spine extend and more of your chest rest on the floor with each breath.  Let your neck muscles relax, with the rest of your body and head fully supported,.  After several breaths, slowly turn your head to the right so your left temple lies on the floor; take a few deep breaths before slowly returning your forehead to the floor and slowly all the way through to the left.  Spending several breaths in each position, remain in child's pose for up to 5-6 minutes or your point of comfort.

Note: These stretches are only appropriate for those in good health.  If you have an injury or other medical condition, consult a doctor first.  If you feel pain, discontinue stretching immediately.