(757) 460-2522 office@reinholdchiro.com

3 Stretches to Help Relieve Neck and Upper Back Pain

Fitness, Back Pain, Featured, Neck Pain, Pain

Last week I showed you 4 stretches to help relieve lower back pain. Today, I want to demonstrate 3 of the best stretches for alleviating neck pain and upper back pain.

Neck Pain Relief Stretches Demonstration

This video was originally shown via Facebook Live. Be sure to like us on Facebook so you don’t miss our next live video tips!

Levator Scapula Stretch

The levator scapula can often be stretched to provide neck pain and upper back pain relief while also giving greater flexibility in your neck.

Step 1: Reach your right hand behind your back while standing and grab your left wrist.

Step 2: Pull straight down on your left wrist (toward your left foot) while simultaneously tucking your chin and bending your head to the right (as if you are looking at your right foot). Play with the angle of your head a little to maximize the stretch feeling from the left side of your neck down into your left shoulder blade.

Hold 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Scalene Stretch

If you’re dealing with neck pain, this stretch–similar to the levator scapula stretch–can also provide relief over time.

Step 1: Reach your right hand behind your back while standing and grab your left wrist.

Step 2: Pull your left wrist across your low back like you are trying to put your left hand into your right pocket.

Step 3: Now tilt your head to the right. Again, play with your head angle a little to maximize the stretch on the left side of your neck.

Hold 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Cervical Extension Exercise

This exercise/stretch is adapted from the physical therapy neck rehabilitation exercise routine known as Cervical McKenzie Exercises.

Step 1: Take a rolled-up towel and grab both ends. Place the towel around the back of your neck.

Step 2: Pull your head back over your shoulders (think of someone pushing your face straight back with their hand). Pull the towel tight against the back of your neck.

Step 3: Now extend your head back over the towel as far as you can. Be careful not to let your shoulders roll forward as you perform the neck extensions.

Release back to the start position. Repeat 15-20 times.

Wrap Up

Some of the stretches described above take time to master, but will help you to either regain or maintain more balanced, symmetric, flexible motion in your spine and pelvis. If you find that performing these stretches gives you increased pain (more than just “cranky” muscles from stretching), sharp pain, or other symptoms that you wouldn’t normally associate with stretching, or if you get discomfort that seems to be increasing over time, it would likely benefit you to be evaluated by an expert in the biomechanics of the spine (chiropractor, physical therapist, etc.) to be sure there aren’t other underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Pin It on Pinterest