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Chiropractor for Algonquin and Lake in the Hills
A woman at her computer holds her neck while it hurts.

Neck Pain Relief: Stretches and Prevention Tips to Help You!

Do you wake up with neck pain or stiffness? Do you want to know how to prevent it? See how these exercises and stretches can help you find neck pain relief!

Discover Neck Pain Relief and Prevention with Simple Stretches and Exercises!

We’ve all felt it before: you wake up in the morning, and your neck is stiff or sore. What happened? Maybe you slept in the wrong position. Neck pain isn’t something that happens overnight, though. In fact, it can be the result of years of strain or trauma on your neck muscles. Everything from twisting your neck the wrong way to stretching it too hard puts you at risk for neck pain.

Your neck muscles help keep your head up. Typically, the human head weighs around 10 pounds. That’s 10 pounds being supported by muscles all day, every day, for years on end. Building up muscle mass gives you more strength and endurance.

But what happens when you have chronic neck pain or stiffness? How do you find neck pain relief? First, you should see a chiropractor, who can diagnose any issues you might have. Your chiropractor can monitor and adjust your neck pain treatment as necessary.

Keep reading to find out what causes neck pain, exercises to help find neck pain relief, and how you can prevent future neck pain!

What Causes Neck Pain?

First, let’s look at what causes neck pain. As said before, neck pain doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. Sleeping in the wrong position might affect it, but chances are it is the outcome of a different issue.

Neck pain symptoms can occur because of:

  • Trauma: Any kind of impactful force or unnecessary pressure on your neck muscles or spine can cause it to hurt. This can include actual force being put on your neck, straining your neck muscles, or being in an accident.
  • Poor Posture: Poor posture affects our entire spine. Slouching, leaning forward too much, and pushing your head forward contribute to poor posture.
  • Degenerative Diseases: Your spine is made up of discs, which absorb shock and prevent spinal bones from rubbing against each other. If you have cervical degenerative disc disease, it weakens these discs.
  • Spinal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis occurs when there is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine. It puts pressure on the nerves that run through your spine. If you suffer from spinal stenosis, it is highly recommended you see a chiropractor.
  • Herniated Disc: A herniated disc occurs when the spinal disc breaks through the membrane around the spine. If you suffer from a herniated disc, you should also see a chiropractor.
A graphic showing an X-ray of the spine, with the cervical area highlighted to show neck pain.
Neck pain can occur from a number of different areas. Stretching and seeing a chiropractor help give you neck pain relief.

What Neck Pain Relief Exercises Can I Do?

Suffering from neck pain shouldn’t be, well, a pain in the neck. If you have neck pain and it is impacting how you live your life, see a chiropractor like Dr. Galante. When you do so, he may recommend exercises such as these.

Side-Bend and Rotation

For this exercise, you will stand or sit facing forward. Tilt your neck to the right. Hold it for about 10 seconds, and then gently roll your head counterclockwise. Once you reach your left shoulder, stop for 10 seconds.

Repeat the motions, but instead going from the left shoulder to the right shoulder. You should feel a slight pull on the neck muscles as you go back and forth.

Shoulder Roll

To do the shoulder roll, stand up and keep your arms at your side. You’re going to roll your shoulders in a circular motion. As they go upward, make sure you are squeezing your shoulders toward your ears. Then bring them back and down.

You should be able to repeat this ten times, going slowly. As you bring your shoulders up to your ears, take a breath. Then, when you bring the shoulders back down, let out the breath.

Chin Tuck

This exercise requires using a doorjamb for support. You stand up against the doorjamb, with your spine up. Your feet should be out about three inches from the bottom of the doorjamb.

Pull your upper back and head backward until your head touches the doorjamb. Keep your chin down so that your head is pulled straight back and not looking up. Hold this pose for five seconds.

Neck Extension

Begin by standing, with your feet underneath your shoulders. Your arms should be at your side. Then, look upward and bring your head backward while keeping your shoulders and back in position. You hold this pose for five seconds and then slowly bring yourself back to the starting position.

Repeat this motion five to 10 times, going through it slowly.

Neck Flexion Stretch

This exercise starts with you lying down comfortably. You rest your arms alongside your body. Bring your shoulder blades back and down slowly. Then gradually draw your chin in toward your chest. Hold this position for about 10-15 seconds. Then move back into your starting position.

This is an exercise that works your core muscles. If your core muscles are strong, then the spine won’t have so much pressure on it.

Practice “Walking Tall”

This exercise works on your posture and how you walk. When you “walk tall,” your chest is up, shoulders are back, and head is positioned in a neutral place. That means the ears line up with your shoulders. Take a few steps while “walking tall.” You should feel a slight pull on the spine as it stretches out.

These exercises are meant to give you an idea of what a chiropractor would recommend. If you have severe neck pain, please see a chiropractor immediately.

An image showing a neck pain relief exercise.
Performing neck exercises every day strengthens your muscles to avoid pain.

Is There a Way to Prevent Neck Pain?

There are actually a few different ways you can prevent neck pain. The spine, like any other part of your body, needs to be cared for. It takes little adjustments to make a big impact on preventing neck pain.

Support Your Lower Back

The spine runs through almost your entire body, and when one area is off, it usually means another area will be off as well. Your lower back can be a source of pain or inflammation and is usually susceptible to the same ailments as your neck.

Any kind of extra force or trauma on the lower back can cause discs to bulge, slip, or herniate. That puts undue stress on the entire spine, including the cervical area.

Taking care of your lower back goes a long way in helping your cervical spine and neck muscles.

Practice Good Posture

Do you remember being told to “sit up straight; don’t slouch”? It is actually very good advice. Poor posture puts an increasing amount of force on the spine. The body compensates for poor posture, which can result in pain and disability.

Fixing posture can help alleviate or prevent pains and stiffness, especially in the neck. It’s also one of the neck pain remedies that require small adjustments in your life.

Most people spend a lot of their day in front of a computer. Sitting up straight in the chair and keeping your head straight can reduce the risk of developing pain. It also helps to take breaks throughout the day and stretch your neck muscles.

An image showing incorrect and correct posture for neck pain relief.
Spending the day leaning into your computer does not help neck pain. Instead, practicing proper posture could give you relief.

Build Up Your Core Muscles

The neck and shoulder muscles can become overworked if the core muscles are weak or not strong enough. The neck and shoulder will compensate for whatever the core muscles can’t carry.

People’s core muscles are the abdomen, back, and buttocks. Those areas carry a lot of weight, and strengthening them can give the neck and shoulders a break. Improving core muscles can really help in relieving neck pain.

Is Your Neck Pain a Pain in the Neck?

While these stretches may help relieve some of the pain and stiffness you feel, only a chiropractor can know for sure what’s needed. If you’re looking for neck pain relief, see a certified and qualified chiropractor like Dr. Galante!

Dr. Galante is certified in the cervical and lumbar spine protocols of the Cox Technic System of Spinal Pain Management and Relief. With years of experience in Algonquin, IL, he tailors each treatment to the individual so they can get back to living their life!

If you want neck pain relief, give us a call at 847-854-2000! Find a relaxing way to wake up in the morning, free of neck pain with Dr. Galante!