What are some great neck stretches I can do for my torticollis?
Four neck stretches for pain relief
If you have had a whiplash injury from an automobile accident, work at a desk all day long, or spend far too many hours in front of a computer, you can get neck pain relief by doing these four simple neck stretches! These neck stretching exercises will take just a few minutes per day and could easily change your life of neck pain and stiffness. The nice part about it is that these exercises can be done at your desk while you on the phone waiting on hold, or while you are actually talking to someone on the phone, or even while you are in your car waiting at a red light.
Comfortable but full stretching and strengthening exercise as a separate treatment for neck pain and stiffness is essential. Movement and strength training are key elements of any neck rehabilitation plan. Of the three basic forms of exercise that will assist neck pain recovery – strengthening, stretching and aerobic activity – at the beginning the best, safest and only one to do is gentle stretching that is held just short of the point of pain development.
When just starting to work to make the neck less stiff and achy, the best kind of neck stretching is done slowly and carefully in very small and careful amounts – sometimes just a fraction of an inch at a time. When neck pain is severe the amount of movement will be slight, almost not noticeable to an observer. Yet, you will feel it if your problem is severe and you will allow the feeling of slight pain and achiness to guide your movement. Any tiny amount of soft tissue stretching that would not be noticed can be greatly important to stretch the neck out well when the tissue of the neck is sore and tightly contracted. So, easy does it with these neck stretches and take your time.
There are six standard ranges of motion of the neck:
- Forward flexion (chin to the chest)
- Backward extension (look up toward ceiling)
- Right rotation (turn head toward right shoulder)
- Left rotation (turn head toward left shoulder)
- Right lateral flexion (tip head to right by dropping right ear down to right shoulder)
- Left lateral flexion (tip head to left by dropping left ear down to left shoulder)
Stretch the neck in all six directions for at least for 10-15 seconds each direction, and longer with any that you notice neck pain or stiffness.
Sit on a chair with good support that does not allow slumping, and reach down to hold seat portion of the chair with your hands as you stretch. Do not force or bounce or jerk the head or neck while you stretch; keep it smooth and flowing. Go only so far as you feel a deep comfortable neck stretching sensation, but no pain. Stay in that range of movement that stretches the neck while feeling like you are doing some good for yourself.
This maneuver not only stretches the neck and upper back muscles, but it is an isometric exercise for the same group of muscles. Basically, all you have to do is try to raise your shoulders up above your ears, or get your head down below your shoulders – like a turtle – and firmly contract the muscles for the count of 10 when you are far as you can reach down. Repeat this 3-5 times.
As a second phase of this exercise, while still keeping the ears as close as you can get to the shoulders, push both shoulders back like you are trying make your breastbone stick out and your shoulder blades in back touch each other. If you do this correctly you will feel a good stretching sensation in the chest muscles. Repeat this stretch 3-5 times.
This stretch not only helps the neck, but also the shoulders and upper back that are connected to the neck muscles and supporting soft tissue, so this is an important stretch to do each time.
Reach forward and fully stretch your arms far out in front like you were trying to touch something that is beyond your reach. While you are doing this wrap your arms around each other until the back of your hands are touching and the palms face away from each other. While your arms are stretching forward, bend from the upper back and allow your body weight to take you forward and keep your chin down toward the chest like you were going to dive into the water. Hold this stretch for 10-30 seconds. Repeat this stretch 3-5 times.
Prolonged sitting tenses the entire spine and neck. This whole spine stretch will give you back and neck pain relief.
While seated on a firm chair with the feet flat on the floor, sit up straight and tall while contracting the tummy muscles. While contracting the abdominal muscles, hold the seat of the chair and twist the entire trunk of the body by bringing one shoulder forward and around as far as you comfortably can make it stretch. At the same time allow the neck to rotate in the same direction and allow the hip to also come forward a little as well. Hold this entire spinal stretch for 10-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.