What stretches would be good for my stiff neck?
This is a question I am frequently asked by my clients who are suffering with stiff, immobile necks and a question I now seem to be getting asked more often. I have always worked with a wide range of clients of all ages and generally I have found that my older clients have often complained of stiff, tight necks that have a limited range of movement, what was less common was my younger clients complaining of the same problem. Recently this seems to have changed. My younger clients are also complaining of stiff and tight necks, this increase that I am seeing could be for many reasons but people sitting hunched over desks at work, on computers/laptops at home and using mobile devices on the go certainly isn’t helping.
Sitting for long periods of time with bad posture can lead to necks and shoulders feeling stiff, tight and muscles becoming sore. This problem can be helped by spending less time sitting in these positions, taking short breaks and by becoming more aware of bad posture and starting to correct it. Attending regular Pilates sessions can help you to become more aware of your posture and alignment and start to improve it. The stretches below can help release stiffness and tightness in your neck and help your neck to become more flexible and mobile.
These stretches are simple and easy to do anywhere. They can be done in standing or sitting and great to do in front of a mirror. When you stretch you need to be warm, so a good time to stretch is when you have just got out of bed, the bath or shower, come in from a walk or just finished exercising. These stretches can be done a couple of times a week or if they feel good everyday. Doing them at the same time of day can help you to stay in a routine and stop you from forgetting to do them!
You need to hold each stretch still and count slowly to 30 (30 seconds)
Drop your chin towards your chest
Keeping your shoulders down and relaxed, drop your chin down towards your chest. Don’t force or compress your chin down, just hold it where it naturally wants to go.
Drop your ear to your shoulder
Keeping your shoulders down and relaxed, drop your right ear towards your right shoulder. Try not to twist your head as you drop your ear. Hold it still and then repeat to your left
Look down and across
Keeping your shoulders down and relaxed, drop your chin forward and then look across into your armpit. Don’t force the chin down. Hold it still and then repeat to your left
Look over your shoulder
Keeping you shoulders down, relaxed and facing forward. Look over your right shoulder. Make sure you don’t rotate your upper body as you turn your head. Hold it still and then repeat to your left
I hope these stretches are useful. Why don’t you try them for a week or two and let me know how you get on?