5 Stretches to Relieve Neck Pain and Stress for All Ages

LLA Therapy typically treats pediatric patients, but we realize how this pandemic has caused increased stress levels in all ages especially parents. Many people are now working from home, teaching their children and having circumstances that can cause increased tension in their head and neck.

Here are a few simple stretches to help relieve “the pain in the neck” that this pandemic has caused.

1. Upper Trapezius Stretch

  • The upper trapezius muscle is a large muscle that runs from neck /upper back to the clavicle. This is a muscle that becomes very tight and many people carry stress through this muscle.
  • Place one hand behind your back and gently use your opposite hand to bend your neck towards the opposite shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat 3x on each side. Can repeat as often as needed for relief.

2. Levator Stretch (Smell the Armpit Stretch)

  • This stretch is very similar to the above stretch. It just stretches a different muscle in the neck. The levator scapulae is a muscle that runs from the neck to the shoulder blade.
  • Place one hand behind your back and gently use your opposite hand to bend your neck and look towards your opposite armpit. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat 3x on each side. Can repeat as often as needed for relief. You should feel the stretch in your neck.

3. Doorway Pectoralis Stretch

  • This stretch targets the pectoralis muscle that runs from the chest to the arm. This muscle can get tight due to rounded shoulders and forward head posture.
  • Place your arm at 90 degrees and keep your elbow bent on a doorway, rotate your body away from your arm. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times. You should feel a stretch in the front of your chest, if you feel a pinching in the back of your shoulder stop the stretch. All stretches should be pain free.

4. W Reach Stretch

  • This is a good stretch for opening the chest and working on pinching shoulder blades back.
  • Go against a wall and place arms in a “W” position. Slowly extend elbows and reach as high as you can while keeping your back and arms on the wall. Slowly go back to starting position. Complete 10 times.

5. Chin Tuck

  • The chin tuck exercise can be competed while sitting up or laying down. This exercise is great for working on the deep anterior neck muscles as well as stretching the occipital muscles at the back of the neck. The occipital muscles are muscles that commonly get tight and can cause headaches.
  • Place a finger on your chin, bring your chin straight back. Only use your finger as a cue to push straight back.  Hold 2-5 seconds when pressing back and complete 10x.