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The 6 Best Stretches to Relieve Your Neck Pain Quickly

The 6 Best Stretches to Relieve Your Neck Pain Quickly

Does your neck hurt? Has it been hard for you to accurately diagnose where it’s coming from and what’s causing it? The answers are logical and surprisingly insightful. Neck pain can often be caused by tight, sore muscles in your body. Experiencing stress of any kind can typically make your muscles stiff and inflexible, which can manifest as neck pain.

Causes of Neck Pain

Overuse of your neck muscles in an inappropriate position, which is usually caused by poor posture while doing everyday activities particularly in relation to computer or laptop use, can be a prime reason for muscle strain. This can lead to muscle spasms, headaches, and restriction of neck movements, usually leading to chronic neck pain.[1]

Another possible cause of muscle sprain of the neck is sleeping in the wrong position. This can strain the cervical chord that connects with the brain (as can be seen in the image below), leading to a lot of pain and numbness.

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-9-26-56-pm

    via All To Health

    Not taking care of your neck pain can lead to headaches, nerve pain, pain in the shoulders and hands, and more serious health disorders that can potentially affect any part of the spinal chord and brain.

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    Let’s dive into some stretches you can do to alleviate neck pain:

    1. Seated Neck Release

    screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-9-59-54-pm

      via Efficient Life Skills

      This is a great stretch for the sides of the neck to loosen up the neck and shoulder muscles, releasing tension around the sides of the neck.

      1. Simply sit in a cross-legged position
      2. Hold the top of your head with your left hand
      3. Tilt your head towards the left until you feel the right side of your neck stretching
      4. Repeat the same step for the other side of your neck

      Be careful not to apply too much pressure with your hands or you may overstretch the sides of your neck causing a muscle spasm.

      2. Seated Clasping Neck Stretch

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      screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-09-41-pm

        via Woodway Wellness

        This can be a great stretch for the back of the neck, along the spinal chord area. And it’s especially good for people who sit at the computer for long hours.

        1. Sit in a cross-legged position
        2. Lace your fingers and clasp your hands
        3. Hold the back of your head
        4. Gently press your head forward until you feel the stretch in the back of your neck
        5. Hold it there for 30 seconds, then gradually lift your head to the normal position.

        Again, be careful not to press your head too far forward, and always be gentle.

        3. Behind The Back Neck Stretch

        screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-10-30-58-pm

          via TCM Cure

          This a great stretch for the neck and upper, middle, and lower back.

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          1. Stand up tall
          2. Hold your left wrist with your right hand on your backside
          3. Gently try to pull your left arm downwards with your right hand while trying to lower your right ear towards your right shoulder
          4. Hold for 30 seconds

          Be careful not to pull your arm too hard!  

          4. Grounded Tip Over Tuck

          screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-13-32-pm

            via PopSugar

            This stretch can relieve headaches and drowsiness.

            1. Put your shins and forehead on the floor and come into what’s called a “Child Pose”
            2. Relax in this position for a while, then clasp your hands behind your back and stretch your arms as far back as you can
            3. Shift forward the weight of your body by inhaling and stay there for 5-10 seconds
            4. Gradually move back to your normal position.

            Avoid overstretching or staying in the position for too long.

            5. Seated Heart Opener

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            screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-11-42-34-pm

              via PopSugar

              This is a great stretch for the entire back and neck. It also helps with alleviating any tension in the chest area.

              1. Sit on your heels
              2. Place your palms on the floor behind your back
              3. Continue to stretch your neck and head, arch your back
              4. Lower your head to feel the stretch while staying in the position for at least 30 seconds.

              This can increase blood circulation to your neck and brain, making you feel more alert and also stretching the front of the neck.

              6. Bridge

              how-to-do-a-bridge-exercise

                via 30-Day Fitness Challenges

                This is a great yoga pose that allows you to control how much you stretch the back of your neck.

                1. Lie down flat on your back and bend your knees
                2. Place your hands under your hips and lift your hips high
                3. Feel the extent of the stretch on your neck, depending on how high you lift your hips
                4. Stay here for 30 seconds
                5. Gently return to your normal position.

                Take a hot bath or shower before doing these stretches to relax your muscles and increase your flexibility. This can help to make your neck muscles more nimble and facilitate the alleviation of neck pain faster!

                Reference

                [1] http://www.mydr.com.au/pain/neck-pain-symptoms-and-causes

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                Akshay Sachdeva

                Entrepreneur

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                Published on July 18, 2019

                11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

                11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

                No matter where you are in your fitness journey, chances are you wouldn’t mind a little more definition in your midsection.

                Whether you have a six pack or a beer belly, those abs could probably be a little bit sharper. Not to mention developing better core strength is hugely important when it comes to improving your overall strength and athleticism, as well as protecting you from injuries.[1]

                The good news? Your abs and core muscles can handle a lot of training.

                While most of your muscle groups do best with just two training sessions per week,[2] you can hit your abs every other day to great effect. You don’t even have to leave the house!

                Here’s my guide to the 11 best core strengthening exercises you can do at home with no equipment.

                1. Planks

                Let’s start with the mother of all core-strengtheners, the plank.

                Planks not only work your abs and obliques, they challenge those core muscles deep inside your body that help promote stability and power. They can also reduce back pain and improve your balance and posture.

                Get down into pushup position, feet behind you, hands under your shoulders. Lock out your arms and legs, squeeze your core muscles, and hold your body stiff (like a plank!) for as long as you can.

                For a more challenging variation, try a forearm plank with your arms out in front you. Lay your forearms on the ground for support, with your elbows under your face rather than aligned with your shoulders.

                2. Side Planks

                To hit your obliques even harder, try this challenging variation: the side plank.

                From plank position, rotate onto one side. Prop yourself up on your elbow and one foot with your body straight and stiff.

                Don’t forget to squeeze your core as you hold this position for as long as you can.

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                Switch sides and repeat to avoid creating muscle imbalances.

                3. Reverse Crunches

                The regular stomach crunch is a fine exercise, but when it comes to abs and core strength, you’ll want to opt for moves that are a lot more challenging.

                When you can crank out 50 crunches without a problem, it’s probably time for something new.

                The reverse crunch packs a wallop for your lower abs and can be done anywhere, anytime, just like the standard crunch.

                Lay on your back with knees bent in crunch position. Place your hands flat on the ground by your side and lift your pelvis, bringing your knees up toward your face, then back down again.

                Engage your lower ab muscles to do the work, not your back. Repeat for a few sets of 12-20 reps.

                4. Flutter Kicks

                The lower abs are a problem area for a lot of people, so we’ll want to work them hard.

                If that sounds like you, flutter kicks are just what the doctor ordered.

                Lay flat on your back in leg raise position, hands at your sides or pressed into the floor. Raise your legs together about 6 inches off the floor, then alternate lowering one and raising one a few inches in rapid succession.

                It should look like you’re kicking the air, and it should give you quite a burn in your abdominal area.

                5. Arms High Sit-Ups

                Imagine a crunch, but way harder!

                Lay down on the ground in sit-up position, knees bent, feet flat on the floor in front of you.

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                Raise your arms up to the sky and keep them elevated as you perform a few sets of sit-ups.

                Engaging your arms in this way makes the move extraordinarily difficult and taxing. You’ll get a lot more mileage out of this move versus traditional crunches.

                6. L-Sits

                The L-Sit is outrageously difficult to perform well, but if you can build your strength here, the benefits are phenomenal.

                To perform an L-Sit, you’ll need a stable surface to press off of. You can do them on the floor, but it’s a little easier if you can elevate yourself on a pair of dumbbells, two sturdy chairs, or a similar apparatus.

                Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Lock your arms in place at your sides, palms on the ground or surface, and press. Bring your legs into the air, perpendicular to your upper body, using the tension from your locked arms.

                Hold this position as long as possible for an intense strength building workout.

                7. Stomach Vacuums

                And now for something different!

                It’s easy to work your front-facing abdominal muscles, but there is another muscle group in your core that’s frequently overlooked: The transverse abdominis.

                This muscle isn’t visible through your skin, but it’s incredibly important in stabilizing your body, creating good posture, and holding your belly in tight to your spine.

                To strengthen this muscle and get a flatter stomach, try stomach vacuums.[3]

                Standing straight and tall. Exhale all of the air out of your body and simultaneously pull your belly in tight. Imagine sucking your belly button back into your spine.

                You’ll feel the transverse abdominis engage. Hold as long as possible, rest and then repeat.

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                8. Star Planks

                Planks are too effective to not utilize multiple variations of them in your routine.

                The star plank engaged similar muscles to the traditional plank, but is a lot harder to hold for time.

                From the push-up or standard plank position, walk your feet out wide and your hands, as well.

                Your body should form an X position. Elevate your core off the ground, squeeze tight, and hold for as long as possible.

                9. Boat Pose

                Yogis know all about core strength, so if you want a tighter tummy, you should take a page out of their playbook.

                Boat pose is an extremely difficult isometric hold that builds exceptional balance and core power.

                Star in sit-up position. Crunch yourself up toward your knees, then lift your feet off the floor until they’re about level with your face. Balance on your butt, squeeze your core, and hold this position as long as you can.

                Your body should form a V with the only point of contact being your butt on the ground. Holding boat pose should be extraordinarily challenging!

                10. Mountain Climbers

                Ab work alone won’t shred stomach fat. But when you combine abs and cardio, that’s when you’re onto something magical.

                Mountain climbers fit the bill if you’re looking to blast your core and also work up a good sweat.

                Get down into plank position. With your arms locked and your body tight, drive one knee at a time off the floor, up toward your chest, and then back to its original position. Repeat in quick succession.

                It should look like you’re climbing a hill, and it should exhaust you in a matter of seconds!

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                11. Russian Twists

                Finally, let’s give the obliques a little more love.

                Get down into sit-up position and perform a crunch toward your knees. From here, lean back so your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, clasp your hands in front of you, and twist side to side in rapid succession.

                You’ll feel your obliques engage after just a few reps.

                For a more difficult variation, lift your feet off the floor similar to boat pose while perform the move, or perform the twist using a heavy medicine ball for added resistance.

                The Bottom Line

                The biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to six-pack abs is a low body fat percentage. That’s best accomplished by sticking to a smart diet and building your fully body strength.

                However, if you want to improve your athleticism, overall strength, or even your longevity, you can afford to work your abs a bit more frequently — 3-4 times per week is perfect.

                If you hit them hard enough, you’ll probably see some great improvement in definition as well!

                Cranking out endless crunches is one way to go about core training, but there are so many better and more challenging moves you can try without ever having to leave your living room.

                Give them a shot!

                Featured photo credit: Luis Quintero via unsplash.com

                Reference

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