Physiowarzish
Best health exercises site

Neck stretches

A stiff neck is commonly associated with sleeping in a strange position (such as on a long flight), but a stiff neck may also result from almost any type of physical activity. Poor neck flexibility usually results from holding the head in the same position for long periods like working on computers, mobiles etc. In addition, a fatigued neck muscle can stiffen up after exercise. 
Neck stiffness can have a negative effect in sports where head position is important or movements are important (such as wicket keepers in cricket or tennis players etc.)

The motion of the muscles of the neck are divided into four categories: rotation, lateral flexion, flexion, and hyperextension. 

Rotation describes the action of moving the head from side to side, lateral motion brings the ear to the shoulder, flexion moves the chin to the chest (as in looking down), and hyperextension moves the neck so that the head tilts upward.

It is important to keep the muscles of neck strong and flexible to maintain proper function and avoid injuries and neck pain. The main function of the muscles of neck is head movement, but they also contribute to the maintenance of blood flow to the brain and holding the head upright.


The major muscles in the neck are involved in neck rotation, it is fairly easy to stretch the neck muscles.
The first consideration when choosing a particular neck stretch should be whether greater stiffness occurs with flexion or extension. 
Remember that overstretching (very hard stretching) causes more harm than good. and muscle becomes stiff from overstretching. Stretching can reduce muscle tone, and when tone is reduced, the body compensates by making the muscle even tighter therefore start with the position that is the least stiff and progress only when, after several days of stretching, you notice a consistent lack of stiffness during the exercise. This means that you should stretch both the agonist muscles (the muscles that cause a movement) and antagonist muscles (the muscles that oppose a movement or do the opposite movement).
Also, remember that although you may have greater stiffness in one direction (right versus left), you need to stretch both sides so that you maintain proper muscle balance
The following exercises can help keep the neck from stiffening up after exercise, unusual postures, or awkward sleep positions.

 
Cervical extension stretch
Cervical extension stretch sitting
 

Cervical extension stretch sitting

  • Sit in chair with good back support.
  • Sit with proper posture.
  • Slowly bend neck backwards, stretching the muscles on the front part of neck.
  • Hold the stretch for few seconds, release gradually and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 5-6 times
Tip: Do not perform the exercise if you  feel dizziness or pain.

 
Cervical extension stretch lying
Cervical extension stretch lying supine
 

Cervical extension stretch lying supine

  • Lie on back, on bench or firm bed.
  • Position so the entire head and neck is off the edge.
  • Hold head up with an arm.
  • Slowly lower the head backward to stretch the muscles on the front of the neck.
  • Use hand to return to start position and repeat for 5-6 times

Tip: Do not perform the exercise if you  feel dizziness or pain.

 
Cervical flexion stretch
Cervical flexion stretch sitting
 

Cervical flexion stretch sitting

  • Place hand on back of head.
  • Gently push chin to chest.
  • Return to start position and repeat for 5-6 times

Tip: Do not perform the exercise if you feel dizziness or pain.

 
Cervical flexion stretch  lying
Cervical flexion stretch prone lying
 

Cervical flexion stretch prone lying

  • Lie face down, on bench or firm bed with head and shoulders off the edge.
  • Arms should be at side.
  • Slowly lower neck forward until a stretch is felt on the back of neck and middle back.
  • Hold, return to start position and repeat for 5-6 times

Tip: Do not perform the exercise if you feel dizziness or pain.

 
Neck rotation stretch
Neck rotation stretch
 

Neck rotation stretch

  • Place palm against jaw.
  • Gently rotate head as shown hold the stretch for few seconds
  • Repeat in other direction.

Tip: Do not perform the exercise if you feel dizziness or pain.

 
Chin tuck exercise
Chin tuck exercise in sitting
 

Chin tuck exercise in sitting

  • Sit in chair with good back support.
  • Maintain proper posture.
  • Tuck chin in.
  • Bend neck back, keeping the chin tuck hold the stretch for few seconds
  • Return to start position and repeat for 5-6 times

 
Chin tuck exercise
Chin tuck exercise lying supine
 

Chin tuck exercise lying supine

  • Lie on back with head on pillow.
  • Tuck chin in, pushing back of head into pillow hold the stretch for few seconds
  • Return to start position and repeat for 5-6 times