Neck Stretches

I have put together a short and simple set of stretches for the neck. If you suffer with a stiff and achy neck these stretches are sure to help. If you are suffering with sharp pain I would advise consulting an osteopath before undertaking stretches.

When stretching you should always feel comfortable. If you have to hold your breath, clench your jaw or find yourself shaking while stretching then you are pulling too hard and you risk doing more harm than good.

Gentle neck stretch:

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Lying on your back with your arm at 90° to your body, gently turn your neck away from your outstretched arm.

Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. You should feel a stretch in the side of your neck and top of your chest.

If no stretch is felt you should graduate onto the more advanced neck stretches below.

Reinforced neck stretch 1:

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Sitting or standing, place your hand over the top of your head and rest your hand on your opposite ear.

Without using the muscles in your neck to help, draw your elbow down towards your side.

Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, you will feel a stretch down the side of your neck.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Reinforced neck stretch 2:

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Again place your hand over the top of your head, this time resting your hand behind the ear.

Without using the muscles in your neck to help, draw your elbow down and forwards, guiding your nose towards your armpit.

Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, you will feel a stretch down one side of the back of your neck.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Reinforced neck stretch 3:

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Place your hand on the back of your head with your fingertips at the base of your skull.

With your arm in front of you, draw your elbow forward and down.

Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, you will feel a stretch down the centre of your neck most noticeably at the base of your skull.

Repeat on the opposite side. The stretch is subtly different side to side and needs to be done bilaterally.

Written by Patrick Norman B.Ost

Registered Osteopath

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