A lot of things can result in neck pain and its origin may be a little difficult to trace. Some common causes include; worn joints, muscle strain, hunched over the computer for way too long, a bad sleeping position, wear-and-tear from arthritis and nerve compression. Try as much as you can to identify what the cause is before you attempt any method to alleviate the pain, to know what will work best. Here are some exercises to relieve tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.
1. Seated spinal twist
Sit on the right side of a chair and reach around to your right to hold onto the seat back. Then, bring your feet together while you turn your torso towards the chair with your arms. Ensure that you keep your legs together as you rotate, then complete the spiral of the spine by twisting your head over your right shoulder. Maintain this pose for 3 to 5 breaths, unwind, and then repeat on the other side. This pose strengthens the muscles that turn the head and the spine.
2. Neck release
Keep your right hand by your side and bend your elbows close to your waist. Rotate your arms from the center while you tilt your left ear over your left shoulder. Maintain this pose for 3 to 5 breaths and repeat on the other side. This works effectively to release the trapezius muscles at the base of the neck.
3. Forward fold
Sit at the front edge of a chair and keep your feet slightly wider that your hip-width. Now, fold your torso over your legs and let your head and arms dangle. Hold this pose for 3 to 5 breaths, then walk your hands onto your legs and press yourself back up to sit with your arms to exit the pose. The forward fold helps to decompress the cervical vertebrae, and those with high blood pressure, cataracts, ocular trauma, disk herniation in the lumbar spine or osteoporosis with advanced bone loss are advised to skip this pose, as it may worsen their condition.
4. Chin nod exercise
Lie down with a pillow beneath your head and your knees bent. Then, nod your head towards your chest gently and slowly until you feel the muscles harden. Maintain this pose for a few seconds, then relax and repeat.
If the pain or stiffness in your neck worsens despite doing the aforementioned neck stretches, it is strongly recommended that you get checked by a qualified physician.
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