Here are some useful neck stretches that you can do, after your neck warm ups exercise, to maintain range of motion and to reduce tension in the shoulder and neck muscles.

Target Muscles

In this video you will see neck stretches for the following muscles; upper trapezius. It is a large wing shaped muscle that spans from the base of your skull to the top of your shoulders. It is often where we hold a lot of stress and tension from our daily lives and can be quite tender to touch and to release. Next we stretch out levator scapula, which runs from the base of ths skull to the top of your shoulder blade.

After that we release scalenes located in the lateral aspect of your neck running from the transverse processes of the cervical spine to the first rib. If tight can be responsible for impingement of both the cardiovascular and neurological structures. Lastly we stretch out a muscle called sternocleidomastoid which is located at the frontal aspect of the neck. It is the primary muscle responsible for giving us a forward head posture.

Dosage

Hold the initial stretch for 10 seconds, before advancing the stretch a little more for ten more seconds. Finally take the stretch to the last barrier, so that you hold the stretch for a total of 30 seconds. You could do this stretch once in the morning and once in the evening. If at any stage you feel pain, stop the exercise.

Disclaimer

All of these exercises should be done upon prescription of and approval from your medical practitioner, and should not be considered medical advice.

Instructions

Upper Trapezius

Upper Trapezius stretch
Upper Trapezius Stretch
  • Place right hand (palm facing up) under right side of buttocks
  • Bring left ear slowly to left shoulder
  • You should feel a stretch on the right upper shoulder region. Repeat opposite side.
  • Hold stretch for up to 20 seconds. Stop the exercise if pain is felt at any stage and consult your physical therapist.
Sternocleidomastoid
release tension in shoulder and neck
Sternocleidomastoid
Start and End Positions
  • Bring your chin to chest
  • Gently pin two fingers on medial aspect of collar bone
  • Over five seconds, carefully look up to ceiling
  • Hold this stretch for five seconds
  • Repeat as before, except this time start with mouth open, and slowly close mouth at end of exercise, so you feel an added stretch at front of neck
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