More neck stretches - sideways

PLEASE READ FIRST AID FOR DIZZINESS PAGE before doing more neck stretches. A medical workup is advisable to ensure you have no serious disease of your neck.

If one side of your neck is more sore, start by stretching this side first.

Sitting on a kitchen chair, place your feet on the floor widely apart. Take hold of the edge of the chair and lean to the other side until the arm is tight.

Tip your head sideways and bring your free hand over your head and put a finger in your ear. Relax this arm progressively so that its’ weight is taken up gently by your neck.

Never use your arm muscles to actively pull down on your head.

sideways neck stretch

Any neck pain or discomfort should be on the side being stretched.

If you are feeling it on the other side, swap over and start on that side. Also swap sides if the compressed side starts to hurt at any time during the stretch.

As with the forward stretch, wait in this position until the pain shifts or changes.

Every so often, push your shoulder on the side being stretched, down as far as you can, using its muscles (and by tightening your grip on the edge of the chair.

After the first time, you can hold the stretch as long as your arm will stand it, while you feel the pain shifting around, or until it ceases altogether.

When you finish stretching, remove your hand and then slowly bring your head up to straight. Now make small movements to and fro to let your neck muscles regain their length and tone.

Do more neck stretches perhaps once a day on each side, until it no longer hurts, then maybe once a week to maintain flexibility.

More neck stretches sideways
in different head positions.

When it no longer hurts, you can keep the stretch going and slowly bend your head to look further up and down, so that your chin is further from and then closer to your chest.

If you come to a position where the pain returns, stay there until it goes again before moving on.

This will also allow you to stretch Levator scapulae superioris muscle, mentioned in the headache section of this site.

Our left side Achilles heel - another result of our weapon focus.

When people talk of weapon focus, it is usually in relation to failure to identify the person holding the weapon.

All our attention is riveted on the weapon, not on the face of the person.

You think I'm losing it - way off track? I will admit this is all a bit contrived, but there's a point to it...

Most people are right handed.
If surprised from behind, we need our right hand in front of us, for protection.
Our brains are therefor "hard wired" to turn our head to the right rather than to the left.

The left cervical spine joints are much more frequently stiff than the right sided joints, because of this.

This doesn't mean that one's pain will be on the left side - I very commonly find myself treating stiff left joints to relieve right sided pain.

If you are interested in a home study course on examination of the spine, please send me your e-mail address by the contact form.

More neck stretches - rotation this time.

This neck stretch is done sitting on a straight backed chair. Clasp your hands behind the chair so as to prevent your shoulders moving.

Turn your head fully to the right, then attempt to turn it a little further, until you cause slight strain or discomfort in your neck.

Turn your eyes to the right and close the right eye. Note exactly how far to the right you can see with your left eye, over the bridge of your nose.

Keep that same spot lined up with the bridge of your nose, so as to not move your head.

If possible, have a clock where you are looking, to see the time.

You will find that after perhaps 2 minutes, the feeling of discomfort and strain in your neck will go. You will then be able to turn the head a little further to the right.

Now slowly turn your head back to look straight ahead, and then make little movements to right and left a few times.

Now repeat the whole exercise in the opposite direction.

This method for rotation neck stretches, allows one to readily determine how long one's neck muscles need before they relax.

It is a good way to start doing this stretch.

I actually just keep the rotation effort going without bothering to hold the one position, until I have increased my range of rotation adequately or the pain shifts around and finally stops.

After a complete stretch to both sides, until pain has finally stopped when forcing one's neck around as hard as one can, you can expect temporary pain on movement.

It may also hurt at the extreme of rotation when you turn it again. If you feel this, just hold it there again. The pain will go away much more quickly this time.

You may also hear quite loud grating on moving your neck, temporarily.
The gristle of a stiff joint has lost moisture, and needs a few hours of normal movement to rehydrate.

This is a fine crackling sound, quite different to the coarse clicking or crunching of an unstable arthritic joint.

There are different methods - even more neck stretches...

There are many ways to stretch muscles. Professor Karel Lewitt, a famous Czech physician, describes very sophisticated methods using eye positions and phases of respiration to help relaxation.

If a muscle is tightened firmly for 10 seconds, it is more easily stretched for about 30 seconds after the contraction ceases. This is one of the methods used in PNF stretching.

Backwards neck stretch.

Sitting in a straight backed chair, look up at the ceiling. Keep trying to see further back behind you. More ceiling should slowly appear under your eyebrows.

You will feel your throat muscles stretching, as well as some discomfort in the back of your neck.

Be cautious with this stretch. Don't try to achieve much at one sitting.

These stretching exercises can be done progressively until all sharp pain on stretch has gone. Also there are more neck stretches which involve combinations of the movements described so far.

For example, as mentioned above, the sideways stretch can be done in different amounts of chin up and down. Begin in the neutral position, looking straight ahead. Start this extra movement only when all pain has ceased, and when you get a new pain, stop at that position until it goes too.

Forward neck stretch
when your wrists/hands are too sore.

Put your arms into a t-shirt, bunch it up and put it over the back of your head (bent forward.) Then relax your arms so that their weight is pulling down on your head, via the t-shirt.

Do not pull down, just let your arms relax.

From more neck stretches to home pain page

From more neck stretches to page on anxiety and tension.

If you are interested in a home study course on examination of the spine, please send me your e-mail address by the contact form.