4 Simple Stretches to Help Reduce Your Neck Pain

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The neck is an important structure that connects your head to the trunk of the body.  According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2005, approximately 2/3rds of people will experience neck pain at some time in their lives.  Since the neck supports the head (which weighs approximately 8 to 10 pounds!), it is no surprise that many people feel tightness or tension on their neck, especially after a long day at work.
Here are some a couple of simple stretches to do while at work or at home to help keep the spine loose and flexible throughout the day to help reduce the incidence of neck pain. As a reminder, if you experience any form of pain from your neck or shoulder while performing these stretches, stop and consult a medical practitioner.

1)   Forward Neck Flexion:
Stand or sit with your shoulders directly over your hips. Reach with both arms and clasp your hands behind  your neck.
Relax muscles of your neck and allow your arms to pull your head down toward the chest.
Hold this stretch for 15 seconds and relax

2)   Ear to Shoulder stretch
Sit or chair on the chair with a good erect posture.
Tilt your head as you bring the right ear towards the right shoulder
Raise your right arm to hold and assist the stretch.
Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and relax.
** If you would like an additional stretch, place the opposite hand behind you to help stretch out the trapezius muscle**
Repeat with the left side.

3)   Chin to Chest Stretch
Sit or stand with good posture
Turn head so chin is halfway towards the right shoulder
Slowly curl the head forward to bring the chin to the right chest
Place the right hand on top of the head, assist stretch and hold
Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and relax
Repeat on left side
This stretch will help stretch out your levator scapulae, which is a muscle in your neck that is often tense.

4)   Neck Extension:
Sit or stand with good posture
Slowly let your head tip backwards and let gravity assist the stretch and hold for 15 seconds
Return to starting position