More and more Americans are living with neck pain than ever before. According to a Special Health Report by the Harvard Health Publications on neck pain, 7 out of 10 people are affected by neck pain.
And while it’s no secret that living with acute or chronic neck pain, particularly from an injury, can affect one’s quality of life, more doctors are increasingly recommending strengthening and stretching exercises to help sufferers manage their pain. In other words, you don’t have to worry about abandoning your workout routine due to your neck injury. With the right exercises, it may help promote a quicker healing process.
So, let’s explore some of the top strengthening and stretching neck (and shoulder) exercises that are ideal for relieving neck and shoulder pain.
Forward Head Roll
To start things off right, we begin with a subtle move that is sure to get the blood flowing properly in the neck region: the forward head roll.
Begin by standing tall with your neck straight as you face forward. Your arms should be straight against your sides and your feet shoulder length apart. Then, turn your head to the right by lowering your chin to your chest and slowly moving your head in a circular motion to the right until your chin is aligned with your right shoulder.
Repeat in the opposite direction by moving your head to your left shoulder. Begin by lowering your chin again and slowly swinging your head to the left in the same circular motion as before, but in the reverse, until you align your chin with your left shoulder.
Do this again for several reps to give your neck a full workout.
Next up is the classic shoulder shrug, perfect for loosening up those shoulders as well as the upper back. To get the most out of your shoulder shrug routine, start by standing tall with your head and neck straight while looking forward. With your arms resting on the sides of your body, simply move both your shoulders up simultaneously as high as you can and then allow your shoulders to drop back down in a satisfying release move. Continue this motion for 1-2 minutes to achieve the perfect stretching exercise.
Arm and Shoulder Stretch
Another great workout for a neck injury is the arm and shoulder stretch, or back stretch. In a standing position with your arms straight against the sides of your body, lift your right arm and press it flat against your chest using your left hand.
The key here is to keep your arms completely straight the entire time as you press it against your chest. Also, be careful not to force the move, keeping your head and neck straight as well.
Though it’s called the arm and shoulder stretch, your neck could still benefit if you maintain a good posture while performing this exercise.
The ultimate goal is to help your neck and shoulder muscles, not exacerbate your injury or increase your pain.
Workout with a Neck Injury Using Sworkit
Whether you have whiplash from a traumatic event or work in an office setting, you or someone you know probably suffers from pain in the neck and upper back/shoulder area. The exercises mentioned are ideal for overcoming a neck injury or pain while keeping your body active.
Sworkit offers a slew of workouts in strengthening and stretching in this area. Find a routine for 5 minutes or a more involved one for 30-minutes. Check out Sworkit to get your 7-day free trial.
Your neck will thank you!