Neck Pain Stretches & Exercises: Doctor Jo shows you some simple stretches for neck pain. Remember to be very careful with neck stretching exercises, and make sure you have a proper diagnosis from your doctor. Rotation, side bending, flexion, and extension stretching will help loosen your neck muscles. Also stretching your levator scapulae and trapezius muscles will help with some tension headaches. For more physical therapy videos or to Ask Doctor Jo a question, visit
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If you are having some neck pain, stiffness, or tightness, check out this video for neck stretches. The neck muscles that are affected the most are your trapezius and levator scapulae muscles. People often describe neck pain as a crick in their neck. First start off with some gentle neck stretches by bringing your chin to your chest and then looking up towards the ceiling. This is neck flexion and extension. Next you are going to take your ear to your shoulder on each side. Make sure you are not shrugging your shoulders up. This is side bending. Then you are going to turn your head from side to side like you are looking over your shoulder. This is neck rotation. If that is not painful, then you can add some overpressure with your hands.
Now place your hand under your thigh to keep your shoulder down, then side bend your head to the opposite side and gently put pressure with your other hand to get a stretch through your trapezius muscles. Hold these for 30 seconds and perform 3 times on each side. The final stretch is going to be for your levator scapulae muscle. This is the muscle that is used when you shrug your shoulders, and they can get overworked when you are stressed out. Take your arm on the side of the pain and place it above and behind your shoulder. Then take your opposite arm and place on top and slightly behind your head. Look down towards the opposite knee of the pain and apply gentle pressure for a good stretch.
DISCLAIMER: Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy, however, this video is only designed to help you perform the correct technique of exercises that have ALREADY been given to you by your health professional. They are NOT to take the place of going to your own doctor or therapist. There are many manual techniques that a therapist can do that simply can not be done on your own. Your own therapist will also ensure that you are doing correct techniques with your exercises and stretching. If these techniques aren’t done right, they won’t help, and they could make things worse. So, if you experience any pain while doing these techniques, STOP immediately and see your doctor.
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