Struggling with neck pain? It’s likely to be caused by bad posture, a muscle strain or one of the 23 discs in your spine. But don’t suffer any longer. Not only can a chiropractor help identify where your pain is coming from but they can also prescribe a range of exercises that are equipment-free and can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home.

Here, we highlight some of the simplest exercises you can do if you have a stiff neck…

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Struggling with neck pain? It’s likely to be caused by bad posture, a muscle strain or one of the 23 discs in your spine. But don’t suffer any longer. Not only can a chiropractor help identify where your pain is coming from but they can also prescribe a range of exercises that are equipment-free and can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home.

Here, we highlight some of the simplest exercises you can do if you have a stiff neck…

Why exercise if you have neck pain?

When you have a stiff neck, it’s important to get lots of rest. However, it’s also important to keep your neck muscles moving. This will not only help to release any tension but also stop the muscles from stiffening even further. Other benefits include:

  • Improved posture which reduces the stress on your spine
  • Reduced pain in the neck, back and shoulders
  • Greater flexibility and movement in the neck, back and shoulders
  • Fewer headaches

As well as this, gentle exercise can help with pain relief as the body releases endorphins – its natural painkillers.

4 exercises to help a stiff neck

Neck Extensions

Look upwards and then slowly tilt your head backwards while keeping your shoulders and back stationary. Tilt your head as far back as you can – without feeling pain – and hold for 5 seconds. Then return to your starting position. You should feel the stretch in the front of your neck as well as the base of your head down to your back. Repeat 3 times.

Neck Flexion

Lower your chin into your chest and look downwards. Make sure you’re only moving your neck and not bending your spine. Tilt your head down as far as you can go and hold for 5 seconds. You should feel this in the back of your head and neck. If it hurts, bring your head up.

Lateral Neck Flexion

Gently bend your head to one side, as if to bring your ear to your shoulder. You should keep your shoulders and back still and just move your head. Hold for 5 seconds and then repeat on the other side. You should feel this in the side of your neck that you’re stretching.

Neck Rotation

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, keep your back straight and your shoulders still. Slowly, turn your head as far as it will go on one side – without causing pain. Hold for 5 seconds and then look forward again. Repeat on the other side. While rotating your head may be the most difficult exercise for those suffering from stiff necks, it’s great for releasing any tension.

When to perform neck exercises 

If you’re suffering from a stiff neck, try these exercises in the morning. Some patients feel immediate relief but, if you’re still struggling a few hours later, you may need to repeat them.

As your neck becomes less stiff, these exercises may become easier to do. Either hold the stretch for longer – around 10 seconds – or complete more sets. If you feel pain at any moment, however, you should stop. Once your neck is back to full health, you may find it beneficial to complete daily neck exercises to keep your muscles moving and to prevent the pain from returning.

If your neck pain is too bad to do any exercises, you may find it helpful to:

  • Use a heated pad or gel ice pack beforehand to loosen up your joints and muscles
  • Take some painkillers before starting your exercise
  • Use a gel ice pack after exercise to help your joints and muscles to recover and reduce any inflammation

When you should get help 

If your stiff neck doesn’t get better on its own, reoccurs or also comes with headaches, dizziness, or other symptoms, you should get in touch with a professional.

At West Chiropractic, our team of experts can help identify why your neck is stiff and prescribe a tailored treatment just for you. As well as a gentle exercise programme, we have a range of therapies and massage treatments that will not only alleviate any pain but strengthen your neck. Interested? Book a FREE consultation today to discover how we could help you.

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