Neck Stretches to Alleviate Pain

Your necks can take on a lot of abuse, especially if you have a desk job where you sit, hunched over a computer most of the day. Sometimes, exercise can exacerbate the stress. You think you're strengthening your muscles, but you're actually making the problem—and the pain—worse. There are a few motions that can cause neck pain while you're exercising, according to Jeff Varghese, PT, DPT and the director of physical therapy at Kinetic PT in New Jersey. These include:
  • Breathing incorrectly, which can lead to holding your breath and bearing down which gives a false sense of stability.
  • Forward head movements—such as those done during rowing—where pulling hard with your arms can cause the head to move forward and put extra stress on already hard-working muscles.
  • Pulling the neck during crunches, when weak deep neck flexors are overworked as your body tries to hold up your head.
For those who have or are experiencing neck pain, Varghese and the Kintetic PT staff have some stretches and exercises that can be performed anywhere. These can help improve range of motion and build strength throughout the neck muscles.

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