These exercises are designed to stretch and strengthen your neck, and can help relieve simple cases of neck ache.
Read through all the instructions before beginning an exercise. Remember to breathe normally and don’t bounce! If you feel any pain, stop the exercise immediately and inform your health care provider.
The Neck Stretch
Stand or sit with your back straight. Slowly – without moving your back – move your head backwards until you are looking at the ceiling.
Hold this position for 5 seconds. Bring your head back to the starting position. Allow your head to drop forward so your chin is resting on your chin. Hold this position for 5 seconds and return to the starting position. This is a good exercise to do when you are working at a desk – or sitting still for long periods of time which increases the risk of neck strain.
Neck Side to Side
Start this exercise with your back and neck straight – looking straight forward. Slowly turn your head so you are looking left. Hold for 10 seconds and then return to the centre.
Slowly turn your head so that you are looking right and hold this for 10 seconds. Repeat this left/right turn 10 times.
This is a particularly good exercise for people working on computers for extended periods of time.
The Sideways Stretch
Start this exercise with your back and neck straight – looking forwards with your chin slightly tucked in.
Slowly tilt your head to the left with your chin down and then slowly move your head towards the right.
Placing your left hand on the upper right side of your head, gently pull your head to the left so you feel a gentle stretching in your neck muscles.
Hold this for 5 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Shrug your Shoulders
Start this exercise with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Slowly raise your shoulders up as high as you can comfortably manage. Hold for 5 seconds and release slowly. Repeat this 10 times.
The Palm Press
Sitting straight and looking straight ahead – press your palm against your forehead.
Push slowly and gently – whilst resisting with your neck muscles so that your head doesn’t move. Hold for 5 seconds then slowly release the pressure. Repeat 10 times. Repeat the exercise pressing against each side of your head. Repeat the exercise pushing against the back of your head.
Deep Flexor Setting
Lie on your back with a rolled towel under your neck. Press down on the towel to squash it.
Drop your chin to create a ‘double chin’ and, keeping this ‘double chin’ position; lift your head ¼ inch off the towel for a slow count of 5. Then slowly lower your head back so your neck is resting on the towel. Repeat 5 times.
These exercises have been devised in conjunction with Carolyn Hewison, Physiotherapy Manager at Nuffield Health Tees Hospital.
For more information or to book an appointment contact Carolyn or a member of her team on 01642 367 408.