Let’s face it, in the midst of social distancing, quarantine, and the isolation we’re all experiencing to some degree during COVID-19, we’re spending a lot more time on our smartphones, laptops, desktops, and tablets in order to stay connected to family, friends, and co-workers. While technology is helping us stay virtually connected, it’s often easy to forget about practicing good posture and ergonomics when using these devices to communicate. If you’ve found that you’ve been scrolling through your Facebook feed for 30-minutes while hanging your head in an awkward position to look at your phone, you’ve probably experienced the after-effects of this: a real pain in the neck.
Here at Ripple Health Clinic, we believe your health and wellness are of the utmost importance — especially right now. Along with practicing safety protocols to stay healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, it’s also important to focus on your whole-body wellness to alleviate pain, soreness, and ache. Keep reading to learn five simple neck stretches that you can do at home to keep pain and muscle tightness at bay, and contact us to arrange your appointment for physical therapy in Rogers, MN.
Simple Neck Stretches You Can Do At Home
Stretching is essential to keep your soft tissues and joints flexible for a fuller range of motion. Better yet, stretching is a great way to alleviate built-up tension and tightness in your muscles, both of which contribute to soreness and discomfort. Practice these stretches every day to reduce neck, shoulder, and upper back pain.
Side to Side
One simple stretch involves stretching your neck from side to side. This stretch can help ease tension in the neck and at the base of the skull to allow your head to turn fully to either side without resistance.
How to perform this stretch: Start with your head facing forward and your shoulders dropped in a relaxed position. Gently turn your head to the right directing your line of sight over your right shoulder. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then return to the center. Repeat on your left side.
Chin to Chest
This stretch helps ease tightness and tension in your neck, upper back, and in the muscles at the base of your skull. This is a particularly great stretch if you get headaches that start at the base of the skull.
How to perform this stretch: Start with your head facing forward, your shoulders relaxed, and your arms hanging at either side. Slowly drop your head forward as you lower your chin toward your chest. Continue dropping your chin toward your chest until you feel a nice stretch from the base of your skull down into your neck and shoulder blades. If you can’t touch your chin to your chest, that’s alright — don’t force it. Hold for 10-15 seconds at a comfortable position, and then slowly return your head to starting position. Repeat as often as needed throughout the day.
This stretch is similar to the Chin to Chest stretch above, yet it also targets the lateral muscles along the sides of your neck and into your shoulders. This is an excellent way to relieve stress-related tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back, while helping you achieve a fuller range of motion when turning your neck.
How to perform this stretch: To start, follow the same Chin to Chest stretch, gently dropping your chin toward your chest and feeling that nice stretch at the back of the neck. With your chin to your chest (or near your chest), gently roll your head to one side and hold for 10-15 seconds. You should feel a good stretch from the muscles running just below your ear down through your collar bone and into your shoulder. Return to center, and repeat on the opposite side.
This is another great stretch for the lateral muscles in your neck that run down into your shoulder area. Again, this is a fantastic way to alleviate tension and tightness caused by stress and poor posture.
How to perform this stretch: With your shoulders relaxed, slowly drop your ear down to your shoulder and hold for 10-15 seconds. Return to center and repeat on the opposite side. Keep in mind that your ear does not need to touch your shoulder to gain the full benefit of this stretch; in fact, trying to touch your ear to your shoulder is not advised.
If you would like a deeper stretch, place your hand on your head on the side of your body that you are stretching. Gently push your head as you lower your ear toward your shoulder. Do not do so forcefully, but nice and slow.
This stretch not only helps ease tightness and tension, but it also helps improve your range of motion. Try this stretch while sitting down when performing this for the first time.
*For people who become dizzy easily, have vertigo, or who have recently suffered a neck injury, please consult your physical therapist before performing this stretch.
How to perform this stretch: Start with your head facing forward and relax your shoulders. Gently lower your chin toward your chest, and begin carefully rolling your head in a circle for 10 seconds. Return to center, change the direction in which you rotate, and repeat for another 10 seconds. As you practice this stretch, pay attention to any points in your muscles that feel tight and tender. This is a great way to pinpoint trouble spots that are causing pain and limiting the mobility of your neck.
Arrange Your Physical Therapy Appointment Today
Ripple Health Clinic is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our patients and our community during these unprecedented times. Here at our clinic, we are practicing safety protocols according to local, state, and federal guidelines to protect you and our team from the spread of COVID-19. When you come to Ripple Health Clinic for physical therapy in Rogers, MN, you can rest assured you will get the same great care delivered with extra safety precautions in place. Contact us today to arrange your appointment.