Advertising
Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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

      Advertising

      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.

          Advertising

          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

            Advertising

            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

                More by this author

                Akshay Sachdeva

                Entrepreneur

                4 Mistakes People Easily Make That Stop Them From Achieving Big Goals The 6 Best Stretches to Relieve Your Neck Pain Quickly 8 Best Foods To Help You Sleep Better At Night 3 Reasons Why An Introvert And An Extrovert Can Make the Best Couple

                Trending in Exercise

                1 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly) 2 3 Home Exercises To Fix Your Rounded Shoulders In One Month 3 Workout Every Day: Thursday Music Playlist 4 Cut down on drinking! Time for a post-holiday detox 5 How To Get A Six-Pack In One Month

                Read Next

                Advertising
                Advertising

                Published on September 21, 2018

                How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

                How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

                “Can I look like you in 3 months?”

                The teenager stared at me, waiting eagerly for a response. It’s a normal day as a certified fitness coach and yet again, I had to grab some flying feet and put them down on the ground of reality again.

                “If I would be able to reach this body in 3 months, you think it would’ve taken me 5 years?” I responded smilingly.

                In the same moment I tapped the teenager on the shoulder and we both went to the training floor together. Fast forward to today, he eventually reached his dream body. But it took him a little bit longer than 3 months.

                In this article, I want to give you a broad overview and answer to the commonly asked question: how long does it take to build muscle and increase fat loss?

                Your biggest enemy for building muscle and fat loss

                I remember when I joined my first gym years back. After two weeks of continuous training, I saw absolutely no difference in the mirror.

                I googled “2 weeks body transformation” and was frustrated by seeing all these pictures by savvy marketers.

                We human beings have evolved to seek instant gratification. We can’t wait for things to happen tomorrow. We want them today or even better, yesterday.

                It doesn’t matter if we talk about business or our fitness results. If we truly want to make a long-lasting change, we have to delay our innate need to crave gratification instantly and focus on the big picture.

                In the book called Grit by Angela Duckworth, a predictor for future success in children was the so called ‘Marshmallow Test’.

                The Marshmallow Test works this way. Children are basically given two options:

                1. Eat the marshmallow in front of them right now.
                2. Wait 10 minutes without eating the first marshmallow and get a second marshmallow to eat on top.

                This is an insane test of willpower and the ability to delay gratification for an even bigger payoff, as a 10-year old school child. If the child already mastered that crucial skill at such a young age, it was a strong predictor for future success.

                We all have to learn how to delay gratification better. Most people overestimate what they can do in one month, but totally underestimate what they can do in 10 years.

                What you really need to build muscle fast

                Your ground zero

                It all matters on which point we start off. Because the reality is:

                Advertising

                Everyone has to start somewhere.

                A former Olympic athlete will have an easier time building muscles and losing fat than an avid couch potato. There are mainly two reasons for this:

                • The pre-selected genetic blueprint of the athlete.
                • Work ethic of a professional.

                While countless of variables play a role in influencing your success in the gym, it all can be traced back to those crucial points. And the saying still holds merit:

                Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard. — Tim Notke

                A mentor of mine told me years ago that you can succeed in life if you just don’t give up.

                You can have average skills, average genetics and average work ethic. As long as you keep improving on your craft, you will succeed.

                Not immediately – but definitely and finally.

                Setting the right expectations

                I’m great at setting unrealistic goals and having the wrong expectations. I wanted to have 100,000 subscribers on my Youtube Channel and at the end of my first year when I started, back in 2015, I ended up with 30.

                This is an embarrassing story, but I hope it gets one point across:

                Your goals need to be realistic if you can’t deal with the setbacks of not reaching them.

                Ending up with 30 subscribers even after pulling frequent all-nighters to get this endeavor rolling was soul-crushing. I contemplated throwing in the towel.

                With the right support from my network and discipline, I managed to keep going. The channel has now grown 100-fold in those 3 years.

                To find out what is realistic, consider the next timeline.

                The muscle growth timeline

                Here’s what results you can expect if your main goal is building lean tissue mass. Warning: Genuine muscle growth without performance enhancing drugs takes a long time.

                Advertising

                Of course these time periods can vary individually depending on your genetic blueprint and work-ethic. You might see results sooner, or maybe even later.

                The time frame is set to training 2-3 times per week (continuously!).

                Pro tip: Ask a friend or hire a coach to boost your progress tremendously.

                This is what happens when you decide to join a gym, out of my experience training hundreds of clients:

                Month 1-3

                Eat – Sleep – Gym – Repeat.

                Your motivation is at your peak at this point. You will tell your friends and family about your new workout regime. You will notice slight differences in your appearance, which are mainly nonexistent.

                You will experience immense strength gains on your training because your body finally realizes how to use its muscles properly.

                Month 3-6

                This is the time period where most people break. You will be going to the gym consistently, yet the results won’t come just now. It’s the big dip in the whole process.

                Your goal in this phase is to build a habit around your gym visits. You will most likely discontinue to have the all-in mentality as in the first 3 months. You will seek sustainability. Breaking news: It will still be hard.

                But in the end it’s all worth it. Trust me.

                Month 6-12

                “I’ve seen a new vein in my arm!”

                The guy came up to me excited. This is the time where the normal person starts to see considerable results in his training.

                An old friend will talk to him and see a difference in his body shape. Suddenly, his old t-shirt gets too thin. The frequent gym-goer feels amazing.

                Month 12- 24

                Fitness is a trojan horse. While you might think frequent training will only change your body shape, your character will be impacted too.

                Advertising

                Your friends and family will notice. You’re more confident, assertive and more happy with your self-image. You feel confident and sure in your abilities because you have achieved what you set out to do.

                Breaking news:

                You will still not be satisfied. And that’s a good thing. But don’t forget to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

                They haven’t come easy.

                Month 24+

                “That’s what works for me!”

                If you’ve been going frequently and consistently (twice every week for 2 years), you can pat yourself on the shoulders.

                If you’ve done most things correctly and with a certified coach, you will reach the goal shape at this point. But this is also the point where it can get frustrating.

                Further results will come painstakingly slow at this stage. You increasingly have to work on your weaknesses and constantly alter your training to see further results. Be it applying different repetitions, intensity, workout duration, speed or machines.

                A lot of people will not see results after this stage because the benefits are not worth the work for them. We have to realize that what got us here, will not get us to the next level.

                The fat loss timeline

                If you’re trying to lose fat, I have 2 pieces of news for you:

                1. It will come faster. Fat loss has a shorter timeline.
                2. It will be exactly as hard as building muscles, if not harder.

                Here’s what you can expect if you’re starting to lose weight. Here again: Proper guidance can speed up the process.

                Month 1

                “I’ve lost 10kg in the first week!”

                Your results will come fast. Too fast.

                You will feel exhausted. Most of your weight that you lose will be water. This is the big dip in the whole weight loss process.

                Advertising

                The shocking news: Most people stop their diet in the first month.

                Month 2-3

                You will reconsider your dieting strategy and opt for more sustainability. You will reintroduce “bad foods” in your diet that you’ve most likely blocked out in the first two weeks or month.

                Because balance (and not quitting your diet) is more important to you at this stage than seeing rapid weight loss. Your life quality will increase at this stage.

                Month 6-12

                At this time frame, you have probably lost more than 10kg. The majority of the people looking to lose weight will be satisfied with their results and shocked by how much of a difference it makes in their appearance.

                You will feel more confident, more energized and more self-assured. You would’ve never guessed that you could make it, that you could finally lose your weight – yet you did!

                And everyone will notice. “What happened to you?!” – your friends will ask you jealously. Old crushes of you will suddenly initiate contact again just to know what you’re “up to this weekend”.

                The fat loss after this stage will come slowly if you haven’t been obese to start with. The goal at this stage is to have created a rock-solid habit out of your gym and eating patterns.

                Then you don’t have to worry about the Yo-Yo effect.

                Conclusion

                “You changed my life!”

                The same teenager took me aside at a Monday evening. He had his first date the weekend prior. Apparently it went well.

                In the whole time frame we worked together, he built up more than 10 kilograms of muscles. It took him more than 2 years. Yet I’m sure if you’d ask him today, he would tell you that it was all worth it.

                Focus on the things that you can control. Losing fat or building muscles might be an overwhelming task to start out with. We have to delay our innate need for instant gratification and focus on the things that we can control.

                Changing our genetic blueprint or the responses our muscles have to the training stimulus is not in our hands. But training at least 2 times per week, eating the right foods and setting the right goals and expectations is.

                Featured photo credit: Arthur Edelman via unsplash.com

                Read Next