Stretches may be included as part of a therapy program, and/or recommended to be done at home on a daily basis.
GENERAL TIPS FOR STRETCHING
To help effectively stretch the muscles without injury:
- Do not force the body into difficult or painful positions—stretching should be pain-free.
- Move into a stretch slowly and avoid bouncing, which can cause muscle strain.
- Hold stretches long enough (15 to 30 seconds) to adequately lengthen muscles and improve range of motion.
- Repeat a stretch between 2 and 5 times.
Basic stretches for neck pain are convenient enough to be done on a regular basis throughout the day, such as at home, at work,
or even in the car. Some examples include:
BACK OF NECK
(Levator scapula stretch)
- Rest one arm against a wall or doorjamb with the elbow slightly above the shoulder.
- Turn head to face the opposite direction.
- Bring chin down toward the collarbone to feel a stretch in the back of the neck.
CHIN TO CHEST
- Slowly bring your chin down toward the chest until a stretch is felt in the back of your neck.
EAR TO SHOULDER
(Lateral flexion stretch)
- Tilt your head to one side, as if trying to touch your shoulder with your ear, until you feel a stretch in the side of your neck.
- Keep your shoulders down and back, in a comfortable but healthy posture.
CHEST AND SHOULDERS
• Stand facing the corner of a room.
• Place forearms on each wall with the elbows around shoulder height.
• Lean forward until a stretch is felt under the collarbone.
Stretches that are not recommended include neck circles (where the head is repeatedly rolled around the neck) or quickly stretching the neck forward and backwards or side to side. These stretches may cause muscles strain or place additional stress on the cervical spine.