Neck Pain Relief Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo


Oh, Oh! Hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo, and I’ve got my dynamic duo Wonder Remy and Wonder Jo, and today we’re going to show you some stretches and exercises to help relieve neck pain. So let’s get started. Are you ready? Are you ready? Let’s do it! So the first set of stretches for the neck are just going to be active range of motion. So you’re not putting pressure on it, you’re just getting that neck loosened up. So first you’re going to do a rotation side to side. So this one’s going to be a little bit of a continuous motion. You can pause for about two to three seconds on each side, but you’re just getting those muscles moving. So you want to start off just do about five on each side with that little pause, just to get those neck muscles right there warmed up a little bit. After you do the rotation side to side, then you’re going to do a side bending. With the side bending, you’re taking your ear towards your shoulder, but you’re not bringing your shoulder up to your ear. You want to keep your shoulders down and relaxed and then just side bend over trying to touch that ear to your shoulder, and again just hold it for about three to five seconds, and then come back to the other side. Try and keep your head in a fairly neutral position. Sometimes people kind of go down like that, but then you’re just changing the muscle that you’re that you’re working and stretching, so try and keep that head fairly forward when you side bend, so again just about five on each side just to get it loosened up. After you get those loosened up, then you’re gonna do a chin tuck. With the chin tuck, it’s not going downwards it’s tucking it back towards the back of your head. So again you want to keep your head level and you want to just push that chin backward, so you’re making a whole lot of little chins there, but I like using my finger as a target because then you can kind of see how much of a stretch you get. So hold it for about five seconds here, and then come back and you can see that now there’s a little space between my fingers which means I’m I’m working those muscles out a little bit, so that forward head movement that you might have then straightens back up. So again hold it for about five seconds, relax, and do about five of those. So now that you got all of those muscles warmed up a little bit, you’re going to go into some stretches. So now you’re going to do an upper trap stretch which is those muscles in the back up there. Those ones that are on the top of that diamond, and what they do is hold everything together so they get stressed out a lot, and they have a lot of tension in them. So if you want to stretch the right side, you’re going to put your right hand underneath your bottom, and what that does is it just kind of sets that shoulder and stabilizes it so it doesn’t come up while you stretch. So just kind of sitting on that arm there, take the other hand and then just gently pull your head towards the side. Again you want to keep that head in that kind of neutral position. You don’t want to turn your head you want to keep it upright and then just side bend over towards the other side. So for this you want to hold that stretch for 30 seconds, and then do that three times, but if you want to alternate back and forth, then you can give one side a break. Just make sure you do three on each side for 30 seconds, and I always like to do both sides even if you just have neck pain on your right side, doing both sides helps keep those muscles balanced. So the next stretch is for the levator scapulae. What that muscle does is it elevates or lifts the shoulder blades, that scapula, and when we’re stressed out we tend to kind of hunch up our shoulders and overwork that muscle, so it gets really tender and irritated and at the attachments up top on the neck and down low at that shoulder blade. There’s usually those really tender spots that you can push on, and we call those trigger points. So the way to stretch out that muscle is to take the hand on the side that you want to stretch and kind of put it on the back of the shoulder blade where your elbow is coming up a little bit. It doesn’t have to be super high, but by doing this that helps stabilize and push that scapula down to keep it in one spot while you’re stretching. You’re going to take the other hand and put it behind your head because when you pull forward it’s going to be at about a 45 degree angle away, so almost like you’re looking at your opposite knee. So it’s not straightforward down, it’s not straight to the side, it’s kind of in that angle. So you’re just going to come down this way, and you should feel it along that levator muscle right there. So just holding that stretch for about 30 seconds, switch sides, so then you come up stabilizing that shoulder blade and then pulling down towards that opposite knee for 30 seconds, and then doing three on each side. The next set of muscles are your scalene muscles, and those are the muscles in the front there. When those get tight, they can sometimes cause a little bit of nerve pain because the vessels run through those muscles and underneath those muscles, so when they get tight, they can put a lot of pressure on everything. So the way to stretch that is if you want to stretch your right side, you’re going to take your left hand and place it just above that collarbone kind of on those muscles. That’s going to kind of help stabilize that collarbone because they’re connected there at that clavicle, and so you want to keep it stabilized. You’re going to turn your head towards that side and then look up towards the ceiling while you’re putting a little pressure downwards on that collarbone. So again you’re going to hold that for 30 seconds, come back down, switch sides, opposite right over there turn your head, and look up getting that nice stretch through there, and doing that three times on each side. The last set of exercises are going to be to strengthen the muscles a little bit, but they’re going to be isometric exercises which is you’re not actually moving but you’re contracting the muscles. So the way to do that is we’re going to go back to those motions, but we’re going to put our hand on our head so we’re not moving our head anymore, but we’re pushing into that direction. So for a side bend, you want to put your hand on the side. This is the motion that you’re going to do, but you’re going to push into your hands and your head’s not actually moving. With this sometimes if your neck is painful, if you push really really hard, it hurts, so you want to feel tension, you want to feel pressure, but you don’t want it to be painful. So you might want to start off with just about a fifty percent push. So pushing into your head, and then relaxing. I’m moving my head a little bit just so you can see what I’m doing, but you really shouldn’t be moving anything. You’re pushing into your hand, getting that pressure. You might be able to see those muscles activating and then relaxing, so for just about five seconds push in, relax, and do three on each side. So if you want to alternate back and forth to give one side a break you can. So pushing in and then coming back, so about three to five seconds and then relax. So then the next one is going to be that rotation motion, so again you’re doing that movement, but you’re not going anywhere. So holding holding your head again, but now I’m doing that rotational movement. Pushing into my hand, so again about three to five seconds, switch sides, turning in that way three to five seconds, and then doing three on each side. And then the last one is going to be going forward. So again just pushing in your hand, but now it’s going to be on your forehead. So just kind of put the the bottom of the palm there so it’s comfortable, and then you’re pushing in like you’re doing that motion, so again pushing in three to five seconds, relaxing, pushing in three to five seconds, three times. Yeah we need a nap after that. Those were your stretches and exercises to help relieve neck pain. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section, and I’d like to recognize our wall of thanks! Thanks Frank DG, and thanks Woody and Daisy! We appreciate your support. If you want to be on the patreon wall of thanks, click the box up here. And remember, be safe, have fun and I hope you feel better soon!

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