I want to show you two simple exercises that you can use today for a stiff and painful neck. For this, you’re going to need a very light band, alright? And when I say very light, I mean light and stretchy. It is a problem because many people when they do this exercise, want to feel more tension. So, they use a heavier band. That’s not good in this particular drill because the neck is quite sensitive for many people.
Here’s how we’re going to do it.
First, we’re going to set up with the band on one shoulder. Put it over your shoulder, grab both sides of it and step on it. So we’re going to do a same side inferior traction, right? So the band is pulling my shoulder blade down. So we’re going to focus first on lateral flexion and then we’re going to focus on rotation. Very, very simple. Step one. We’re just going to make sure the band doesn’t slip off, so you can hold onto it with your opposite side. We’re just going to begin with shoulder elevation and depression.
So we lift against the resistance of the band and we intentionally relax into the pressure of the band just working on shoulder elevation and depression. Do that four or five times.
Alright, again make sure the band is secure. Now we’re going to combine that with lateral flexion of the neck. So we’re going to raise the right shoulder, tilt the right ear toward the right shoulder. From here we’re going to let the scapula depress and we’re going to tilt away and then we’ll just try to coordinate that motion.
If this feels good to you and it is comfortable, you can actually do more than three to five reps, which is what we normally recommend. For a lot of people, you can do 15 to 20. The main thing is that you need to keep the tension light and comfortable because we don’t want to create any kind of cramping, or spasm or anything.
So you need to gauge, can I do one comfortably? Can I do 20 comfortably? Totally up to you. Now, after you have finished with the same side work of the band, we’re going to continue that by now, putting the band a little bit higher and closer to the neck.
The way that we’re going to do that is we’re going to now attach it to our opposite foot and we would repeat the same exact exercise. Again holding the band to make sure it’s safe. It’s not going to slide. And then we’re going to go through our scapula or shoulder elevations and depressions.
Trying to relax again, a little closer to the midline this time. And then we’ll combine the elevation with tilting to the same side. Depress the shoulder and tilt to the opposite side. Really, really comfortable for a lot of people. It provides some additional mobilization for challenging muscles, like the scalenes, the upper trapezius, and the upper ribs. So these are some of our very favorite drills for working on that stiff, tight sore neck.
You can also, then follow this particular setup doing exactly the same thing in rotation.
So I’m going to just demonstrate that quickly. So we’re here. Once again, I would elevate and this time I’m going to turn and look. Look at my raised to shoulder and then as the shoulder drops, I’m going to look at the opposite side. So raise and turn and look at it and drop and turn away.
Once again, you work up to a repetition range that’s comfortable for you.
I highly recommend that you pre and post-check your cervical range of motion;
how smoothly you’re moving, how comfortable your neck is, how much pain you’re having. This is a go-to drill for many, many of our clients. I hope you enjoy it.