The neck is an important structure that supports the head and the cervical spine. Because of this, the neck most commonly experience stress and tension leading to pain. Neck pain usually involves muscle spasms and strain. The presence of problems on the muscles and bones at the neck causes limitation of motion of the neck joint. Most commonly, people complain of stiff neck or the inability to rotate the neck to one’ side with significant tenderness and pain.
The neck can perform six varied range of motions including:
- Neck Extension or the movement of towards the back
- Neck Flexion or the movement towards the chest
- Left Lateral Flexion or the movement of the head towards the left shoulder
- Right Lateral Extension or the movement of the head towards the right shoulder
- Left rotation involving movement of the chin towards the left shoulder
- Right rotation involving movement of the chin towards the right shoulde
These ranges of motion of the neck are the basis for most neck stretches. Neck stretches aims to increase the strength, tone and flexibility of the neck muscles. It also allows the ligaments on the neck joints to become more flexible and withstand increased stress to the area.
Neck stretches are also part of chiropractic care at your local Wesley Chapel chiropractor to improve the cervical spine and manage problems on the area. Neck stretches are also involved in physical therapy that aims to rehabilitate the neck muscles, joints and bones.
Neck stretches does not affect daily activities because it does not require sophisticated equipment. It can be done while working and also in the home. It only takes 5 to 15 minutes to perform these beneficial stretches. The different neck exercises include:
- Flexion stretch
This is done by performing chin to chest movements. Sit straight in a chair with the back properly supported. Start by placing the head and neck in a midline position. Bend the head forward until the chin touches the chest. When it is difficult to reach the chest, flex the neck as far as it can go without pain. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Bring the head back in a straight midline position. Perform the stretch 3 to four times.
- Extension stretch
Place the head in a midline position. Bend your head backward as if looking in the sky. Hold the position for 20 seconds and return to starting position. Do this 3 to 4 times.
This is done to let the neck rotate from side to side in a 180 degree angle. Hold the head in neutral position. Gently turn the head to the left while feeling for a stretch in the neck. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Return the head in original position and turn gently to the opposite side on the right. Hold again for 20 seconds. Repeat the procedure twice.
- Lateral Flexion Stretch
Hold the head in the midline. Gently flex the head to the left side to let the ears touch the shoulders. Flex the neck as far as it can go without causing pain. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Bring back the head in its original position and do the lateral flexion on the opposite side.
These exercises allow the neck to assume its normal range of motion and enhance flexibility of the neck muscles.