Poor neck posture can put a lot of strain on the muscles, ligaments, and joints of your neck, causing some kind of discomfort that is vaguely described as Tension Neck Syndrome. Quite common, this is usually a dull pain felt around where the neck and the shoulders meet, around the arm.
Sometimes, it also presents other symptoms, such as tension headaches and anxiety. Are you experiencing any of these? Then you might be suffering from the effects of bad neck posture. Below are nine simple exercises that should help you fix your bad neck posture and offer quick relief.
1. Chin Tucks
This is a simple yet effective exercise able to relieve tension from bad neck posture. It targets the deeper muscles of your neck and releases the built-up pressure on them.
To perform this exercise, all you need to do is sit erect and look right ahead. Now, place a finger, preferably your index finger, on your chin.
Holding this finger in place, you should begin pulling your head back until you feel some stretching around your neck. Remain in the position you felt the stretch for a couple of seconds. Let’s say, ten to fifteen seconds.
Now, move your head and chin forward until your chin is in contact with your finger again. Repeat the process as many times as you can.
2. Shoulder Shrugs
Shoulder shrugs are another effective exercise to help with a neck strain. They are simple to perform and can be performed at home, with or without weights. This exercise works on a muscle called the trapezius muscle.
As the name suggests, this trapezius muscle is a trapezoid muscle around the back of your neck and your upper back. It is usually the most frequently affected muscle in cases of bad neck posture and must be eased for relief to be felt.
To perform shoulder shrugs, you have got to stand erect, looking right ahead. Your feet must be flat on the ground. They should not be arched, and you should not be putting on any heels.
Place your arms beside you, your palms facing your body if you’re performing without weights. If you are performing the exercise with weights, you should have your weights in your hands. Now, lower your knees a bit, and your feet should not move.
Pull in a deep breath as you raise your shoulders high as if trying to make your shoulders meet your ears. Don’t raise your shoulders too fast. Raise slowly in such a way that you feel some form of anti-pressure.
Begin lowering your shoulders, slowly too, as you exhale. Repeat over and over.
3. Head Tilt
This simple yet effective exercise primarily targets your deltoid muscles, also affecting the synergistic muscles of your neck and upper back. The deltoid muscle is one of the muscles affected by bad neck posture and has to be eased if relief must be felt.
You do not need equipment to perform head tilts. It can easily be performed at home and by anyone.
To perform head tilts, you should stand erect, your feet two to three feet apart. It is important that your feet are apart from each other.
Now, move your head from one side to the other. The movement should be done in such a way that it seems like you are trying to touch your shoulders with your ears. Repeat the movements as many times as you want.
Nodding is an effective way to relieve neck tension as it targets deep neck muscles, which are often the center of neck discomfort. As funny as this sounds, it is true. So, how do you go about performing this exercise? Do you just sit there and nod your way into relief? Pretty much yes.
To perform this exercise, all you have got to do is sit erect, looking right ahead. Move your chin downward, as if you’re nodding, only this time you should lower your chin until it is almost touching your chest area.
Repeat over and over until you feel you have had enough. Rest, and go on. Relief should come real quick!
5. Child’s Pose
This exercise is quite easy to perform and works very effectively. It targets your upper body muscles; as you stretch, these muscles relax, the tension on them easing up.
To perform the child’s pose, you have got to first sit. Have you seen a child sitting before? You have got to kneel and sit just like that. Sit with your legs folded, your toes teaching each other, your butt atop your heels. Your knees should not be in contact. They should be about one foot or two feet away from each other.
Now, fall forward, your arms outstretched, your forehead touching the ground. It’s fine if your arms are not outstretched, though. You can just keep them in place beside you as long as they don’t move and you don’t break the pose. Remain in this position for some minutes, practicing breathing exercises as you relax.
6. Prone Cobra
This exercise effectively strengthens the muscles of the shoulder joint, neck muscles, and upper back muscles. It is a simple exercise to perform yet advanced in action.
To perform the prone cobra, you should lie on your belly, face down, forehead touching the ground. Put your arms beside you, your palms on the floor. Press the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
Now, slowly, try to make your shoulder blades meet each other. Your shoulder blades are also called your scapulae, bones that attach your upper body to the back.
Take your hands off the ground. With your palms facing outside, roll your elbows inward and do a thumbs up. Now, lift your forehead a few inches above the ground. Maintain the position for about ten to fifteen minutes. Repeat.
So that your forehead does not sustain scratches, you might want to put a towel on the ground. You should also be careful not to stretch too hard.
7. The YTWL Exercise
This is a simple-to-perform exercise that aims to work the spine muscles. It stretches tight spine muscles while straightening out the weak muscles. To perform this exercise, you do not need equipment. It can easily be done at home or the office.
Raise your arms and form a letter ‘Y’ with your palms pointing forward. Now, pull your arms back while making sure your elbows are kept straight. Hold still for about 30 seconds.
You should now go into the ‘W’ position. To do this, pull your arms down just a little bit, making sure your elbows are pointing down. Hold for another 30 seconds.
After this, spread your arms in such a way that you are doing a ‘T’ with your palms facing forward. Put your arms back again and hold for 30 seconds.
Then, go down to form an L with the elbows in the side and fingers pointing in opposite directions. Pull your forearms back and hold out for another 30 seconds.
8. Pectoralis Stretch
This exercise is great for the muscles of your shoulder and your upper back. It’s quite simple to perform and can easily be done at home. To perform this exercise, you only need two things: yourself and a doorway.
Move into the doorway and put your forearms across the doorframe, one forearm on one side and the other forearm the other way. Your elbows should be bent. They should look something like a right angle, which is ninety degrees.
Release the weight of your body so that your body falls forward just a bit, and you start to feel some stretching around your chest and shoulders.
Hold for a couple of seconds, between ten and twenty seconds, and then release. Repeat the procedure several times. Relief comes quite fast.
9. Overhead Arm Reach
This simple exercise targets both the deep and superficial muscles of the neck and works on other muscles of the upper back, arm, and torso. You only need a chair to perform this exercise.
To do the overhead arm reach, you should sit on a chair with both your feet touching the ground. Your feet should not be arched. They should be flat.
Now, raise your right arm above your head, reaching to the left side of your body. Bend your torso until you feel some stretching.
Return to how you started. Repeat this exercise about five times, changing between left and right arms.
Discomfort from bad neck posture is common, especially among office workers who sit all day. This is a result of strained muscles, ligaments, and joints. Discomfort from bad neck posture can range from dull pain to tension headaches to even anxiety and sleep trouble.
Exercises are a known way to relieve neck tension from bad neck posture. If done right and consistently, relief comes fast. Be careful not to go too far with these exercises. Never stretch your muscles too much.
Featured photo credit: Keenan Constance via unsplash.com