If you work at a computer, desk job or in any occupation that requires you to round the upper back, you may find yourself with chronic neck pain. Medical conditions such as arthritis and injuries can also create discomfort in this area. Once you know what is causing your pain, there are some simple exercises you can do to stretch and relax the muscles of the neck.
Have Your Symptoms Diagnosed
The first step is to find the cause of your pain. An appropriate exercise program for a disk issue is different from a program for stiff or tight muscles. If you experience sensations such as burning, numbness or tingling, you may have a compressed nerve and exercise may be contraindicated.
Use Good Posture
With all of these exercises and daily activities, using good posture is often the first step in relieving chronic neck pain. With all of these exercises, sit up straight but not rigid, and do not round through the upper back.
Do these exercises eight to twelve times. Then hold for a stretch for a 30-second count. Take deep breaths and relax the muscles with each exhale.
Chin to Chest
Take a deep breath in. Exhale and slowly press your chin to your chest. Touch your chin to your chest if you can, but do not round the back or shoulders and do not lean forward. Then bring the head up.
Take a deep breath in. Exhale and slowly look over your right shoulder. Turn your head as far as you can without turning your body or shoulders. Press the left shoulder back. Inhale center, and exhale to the left. Press the right shoulder back.
Take a deep breath in. Exhale and slowly touch your right ear to your right shoulder. Do not lift the left shoulder up. Inhale and roll your chin to your chest. Then exhale and roll the left ear to the to the left shoulder. Just do half neck rolls. It is not recommended to roll the head back because this can compress the nerves in the neck.
Self Mobilization Stretch
Bring your right arm across your stomach and rest your right palm on your left hip bone. Touch your left ear to your left shoulder. Take your left palm and press your right elbow gently down toward your right thigh. Hold for five to ten deep breaths. Repeat other side.