5 morning stretches for neck pain

Waking up with neck pain can be a rough start to your day. For people with chronic conditions or injuries affecting their neck, painful symptoms can sometimes be especially intense in the morning. If you experience morning neck pain, developing management strategies can be a great way to find relief. Professional treatment can also be essential.

When it comes to finding treatment for painful neck conditions, physical therapy is an excellent option. A physical therapist can offer comprehensive care involving a range of tools and techniques. An expert physical therapist can work with you to identify the root cause of your pain and develop solutions to address it. While your exact treatment plan will depend on your needs and condition, focused exercises tend to be a crucial part of physical therapy. Your physical therapist may prescribe certain exercises designed for neck pain relief. Educating yourself on common PT stretches for neck pain can help you take an active role in your recovery and make progress between in-clinic sessions.

Stretches for neck pain to do in the morning

  • Neck tilt — Neck tilts are a simple exercise that can help release tension in your neck muscles. Since tension is often a major contributing factor with neck pain, loosening up your muscles can lead to a major reduction in your pain levels. You can do neck tilts in a sitting or standing position. To start, straighten your back. Then slowly tilt your head to one side. Try to touch your shoulder with your ear. You should feel a gentle stretch in the opposite side of your neck. Hold for around 20 seconds; then switch to the other side. Try to repeat around five times on each side. Over time, this stretch can help improve your neck’s flexibility and reduce pain.
  • Neck rotation — When doing neck exercises, it is typically important to keep your spine aligned. Neck rotations are no different. Keeping your back straight, turn your head to one side. Try to turn far enough that you can get your chin over your shoulder. After holding the stretch for around 20 seconds, you can let go and switch sides. Your physical therapist can advise you on the best number of repetitions for your condition. Typically, around five repetitions on each side is recommended. Neck rotations engage the muscles responsible for turning your head. By engaging and stretching these muscles, you can address stiffness and experience neck pain relief.
  • Chin tucking — Chin tucking stretches can help alleviate neck pain by improving your posture. The exercise is meant to build strength in the front of your neck, making it easier to maintain a good posture and reduce neck strain. To do chin tucks, relax your shoulders while sitting or standing upright. Tuck your chin inward so that it connects with your lower neck or upper chest. Hold for around 30 seconds. By doing this stretch each morning, you can work to manage your neck pain.
  • Shoulder roll — With your back straightened, slowly roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion. Try to keep the rest of your body still. After rolling your shoulders forward for around 30 seconds, you can reverse the direction. Roll your shoulders backward for another 30 seconds. Try repeating this pattern two or three more times. Shoulder rolls engage your shoulder, upper back and neck muscles. This makes them a great exercise for promoting relaxation in many different areas. If the cause of your neck pain lies in your upper back or shoulders, shoulder rolls can be an effective way to address your pain at the source.
  • Neck extension — To do neck extension stretches for pain relief, start in a comfortable sitting position. Keeping your back straightened, move your hands to the back of your head. Interlock your fingers at the base of your skull so that they touch your head and upper neck. Your hands will act as resistance for this exercise, so keep them firmly in place. Next, tilt your chin slightly upward and press the back of your head into your hands. Maintain a gentle pressure for around 30 seconds before releasing. By engaging the muscles in the back of your neck, neck extension exercises can improve overall neck functioning and reduce the risk of injuries in the future.

Discover new stretches for neck pain at Lattimore Physical Therapy

Looking for effective ways to manage your neck pain? You can find a range of top-notch treatments at Lattimore Physical Therapy. With our consistent guidance and our holistic approach to treatment, you can work to relieve your pain and start each day on a brighter note.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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