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Neck Stretching Exercises

by Taylor Tollison

Stretching the neck muscles is an important concept to many everyday people. Based on the numbers in Google alone more than a few thousand search how to stretch the neck muscles each week.

Because you are here I am assuming you are one of those people.  I hope to provide some information that will help you in your endeavor. You here because you have a sore neck, a kink in you neck, are a trainer looking for ways to help other people, working on a school project or just want more information to more healthy.

This article on neck stretching exercises is far more than just how to stretch the neck.  Like I mentioned you might be coming here to understand how to alleviate some of the pain associated with your neck.  You might be thinking stretching is what you need when what you need is strength training.  The following study I posted on neck pain deals with individuals in the work place. If you want to go directly to the neckneck standing stretching exercises please skip of the other stuff and read below.

Neck Pain

In 2008 a group did a study on neck releaving neck pain. They said "the prevalence of neck muscle pain has steadily increased and especially pain from the descending part of the trapezius muscle has ben associated with monotonous work tasks such as computer work." (1)

Their purpose was to determine if general fitness training or specific strength training would be more effective on work related neck muscle pain.

The results showed that specific strength training worked better to reduce neck pain and had a more lasting effect than the general training method.

Since your probably wondering what kind of exercises they did the Specific strength training group trained specifically for the neck and shoulders. They did 5 different dumbbell exercises (1 arm row, shoulder abduction, shoulder elevation, reverse flies and upright row). They progressively increased the training load throughout the training period.  They increased the load from about 70% of max intensity to 80% of max intensity during the later phases. (1)

As a disclaimer I believe the information above should not be used on all types of neck pain so make sure you consult with your physician before starting such a program.

Neck Stretching Exercises

If Neck stretches is what you are seeking look no further.  Here is a list of some beneficial neck stretching exercises.

Side Neck Pull
neck stretching

Exercise Description:
Side Neck Pull
Classification:
Static Stretching
Instructions:
1. Lean your head to the side and gently pull on your head with your hand till you feel a stretch.  Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat for 1-3 sets. Repeat on both sides.

Neck Flexion Stretch
neck flexion
 

Exercise Description:
Neck Flexion Exercise
Classification:
Static Stretching
Instructions:
1. This stretching execise can be done with a partner or by yourself. See the images for examples.

2. To perform the stretch by yourself put one or two hands behind your head and very gently pull your head down and in to the chest. Once a stretch is felt on the rear side of the neck hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat for 1-3 repeitions.

References
  1. Effect of two contrasting types of physical exercise on chronic neck muscle pain, Lars L. Andersen et al. Arthritis Care & Research Volume 59, Issue 1, pages 8491, January 2008