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The 6 Best Stretches to Relieve Your Neck Pain Quickly

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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.

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                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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                Last Updated on September 8, 2021

                10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

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                10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

                “You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous

                Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.

                Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.

                And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.

                Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.

                In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.

                Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.

                Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.

                1. I don’t have enough time.

                This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.

                First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”. 

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                Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?

                A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.

                Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.

                2. I’m way too tired to workout.

                Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.

                If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.

                You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.

                If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.

                3. But exercise is so boring!

                You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?

                So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.

                The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.

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                If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.

                4. I have no motivation to workout.

                If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.

                What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit.  Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.

                That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s  backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.

                The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.

                Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.

                5. I have kids to look after.

                One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.

                Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.

                If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.

                You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.

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                6. I don’t have anyone to train with.

                What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.

                Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.

                By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.

                7. I don’t feel very well.

                After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.

                At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.

                If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.

                8. The gym is too expensive or far.

                If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.

                The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite.  Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.

                There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.

                If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.

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                9. I don’t know how to train properly.

                If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.

                However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.

                People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.

                10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.

                This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.

                The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.

                Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.

                Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.

                Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)

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