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Exercises for Neck Pain

Maintaining a right posture and performing certain stretches can help in alleviating pain and stiffness in the neck. Scroll down to find information on exercises for neck pain relief.
Poor posture is one of the most common causes of pain and stiffness in the neck. However, nerve entrapment, muscle sprain, injury or neck arthritis are other contributory factors for strained neck muscles. You might not realize how many times during a day you might be slouching or sitting in wrong postures. If your work involves sitting in front of the computer for long stretches, you might suffer from chronic pain due to strain and overuse of neck muscles. If you often suffer from pain, you must correct your posture and keep your neck muscles relaxed. You can also perform certain exercises for neck pain relief. Here are some exercises and stretches that will help in alleviating pain in the neck region.

Head Rotation
Head rotation is an exercise that can be performed anywhere. You must do this exercise if your work requires you to sit in front of the computer for a long time. Sit in an upright posture and take a deep breath and then exhale. To start the neck rotation exercise, you need to turn your head very gently to your right side till you cannot move it any further. Stay in this position for a few seconds and then again come back to the original position. Repeat this step five times and then do this step by turning your head to the left side very gently. Stay in this position for a few seconds and come back to the original position. Repeat this step five times. You could also try the wall head rotation by standing with your back against a wall ensuring that the back of the head, shoulder blades and tailbone are in contact with wall. Rotate your head slowly to one side while trying to maintain contact with wall. Stay in the position for a few seconds and come back to the original position. Repeat this step five times with both sides.

Neck Extension
For the neck extension exercise, take a deep breath and exhale. Move your head gently in an upward direction till you are facing the ceiling and stay in this position for a few seconds. Make sure that the movement is not jerky. Return to the original position very gently. Repeat this step five times.

Neck Flexion
Sit in an upright posture. Take in a deep breath and exhale. Now move your head in a downward motion and exhale. In a gentle and slow motion try to make your chin touch your chest. Exhale and slowly press your chin to your chest. Don't move your shoulders or lean forward while you try to do this chin-to-chest exercise. Stay in this position for a few seconds and raise your head and return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise for five times. These exercises help by stretching the structures at the back of the cervical spine. You could also try side neck flexions by leaning your head to the left so that your ear almost touches your shoulder. If your ear doesn't touch your shoulder, don't overexert your neck muscles. Repeat this step with the other side as well. You could also try shoulder shrugs. If the pain is arising due to joint problems or any injury, it would be advisable to seek medical help.

Don't ignore neck pain and always remember poor posture is one of the biggest reasons that can cause pain and stiffness in the neck. So, make sure that your posture is right. Alternative healing therapies like acupressure, neck massage techniques or aromatherapy may also help in providing relief. You can also perform exercises to get relief. If the pain persists, seek medical help.
By Smita Pandit
Published: 3/18/2010
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