The neck flexor stretch is designed to stretch the neck extensors and increase the flexion range of motion of the neck.
Most-stretched muscle: Upper trapezius
Less-stretched muscles: Longissimus capitis, semispinalis capitis, splenius capitis, splenius cervicis, scalene
Neck flexion is limited not only by the stiffness of the posterior muscles but also by the stiffness of the posterior ligaments, the strength of the flexor muscles, the alignment of the vertebral bodies with the adjacent vertebrae, the compressibility of the anterior portions of the intervertebral discs, and the contact of the chin with the chest.
This stretch can be done while either sitting or standing however greater stretch is applied when seated as standing reduces the ability to stretch because reflexes come into play to prevent a loss of balance. Therefore it is generally recommend to do this stretch while seated. During the stretch, make sure not to reduce the stretch by hunching up the shoulders. Also, keep the neck as straight as possible (no curving).
Try to touch the chin to the lowest possible point on the chest.
The exercise can be performed in other body positions also.
Neck flexion stretch with arms up
- Lie face down on bench or firm bed with head and shoulders off the edge.
- Arms should be overhead hanging down.
- Slowly lower neck forward until a stretch is felt on the back of neck and middle back.
- Hold, return to start position and repeat.