4 Easy Stretches for a Stiff Neck
If you’re living with stiffness in your neck as a result of a minor injury, it can be helpful to stretch your neck to avoid additional stiffness or deconditioning of the muscles. Four easy to do neck stretches are detailed below that can help to improve your neck flexibility and reduce the symptoms of your stiff neck. If at any point, the stretch causes a sharp increase in pain, stop that particular stretch and move on to a different one.
Neck Flexion / Forward Bending
This stretch will be felt in the back of your neck. To perform this stretch, tilt your head forward, not your neck, such that your chin makes contact with your chest. After your head has been tilted forward as far as you can go without sharp pain, hold the position for five to ten seconds. Afterwards, return your head and neck to the neutral position.
Neck Extension / Backward Bending
This stretch is the converse to the neck flexion stretch and can be felt in the neck’s front, neck’s back, and upper back. To perform this stretch, tilt your head back and look upward while keeping your back and shoulders stationary. Once your head has tilted back as far as it can go without an increase in pain, hold the position for five to ten seconds, then return to a neutral position.
Neck Rotation / Turning on Each Side
Neck rotation can be one of the most difficult if you suffer from a stiff neck, potentially occurring only on one side. While sitting upright or standing, turn your head gradually to the left as far as it can go without experiencing increases in pain. Hold the position for five to ten seconds, then return your head and neck to the neutral position. Afterwards, repeat the stretch for the right side.
Neck Flexion / Lateral Bending Side to Side
This stretch can be felt on the right and left sides of the neck. To perform this stretch, gradually move your head toward the left by trying to bring your left ear towards your left shoulder until you either experience pain or can’t go any further. After stretching as far as you can comfortably go, keep the stretch in the same position for five to ten seconds, then return your head to a neutral position. After stretching the left side, repeat towards the right side.