Neck tightness is very common. It is a problem that we treat daily in our office. Tightness of the neck muscles can be caused by a variety of issues. Some of the most common causes we see are:
- Poor posture
- Cervical disc issues
Always talk to your chiropractor to see what treatments should be done for your specific condition. But here are some good stretches that can really help your day to day stiffness. The two stretches I prescribe the most often are for two of the main muscle in the neck, the upper trapezius muscle and the levator scapulae. Although these stretches are mainly for these two muscles, there will be additional muscles stretched along with them.
As with all stretches, they should not be painful while performing them. You want to add a gentle overpressure to the muscle so that you feel resistance, but no extra pain or discomfort. Try to breathe slowly and calmly during the stretch. Hold stretches for 15-30 seconds at a time. Do not bounce while performing your stretch. If the stretch causes you pain, this should be something you should bring up to your doctor.
- Start by bending your head to the side, trying to bring your ear to your shoulder.
- Raise your hand on the side that your head is tilted toward and place it on the opposite side of you head.
- Put mild pressure downward to try to bring the ear closer to your shoulder.
- You should feel the stretch on the opposite side of the neck and into the shoulder.
Levator Scapulae Stretch
- Start by turning your head to a 45 degree angle
- Bring the head down, looking toward your knee
- Raise the hand of the side you are looking towards, and place it on the top and back of your head
- Make sure your elbow is pointing downward, and put mild pressure downward
- You should feel the stretch from the neck into the opposite shoulder blade