Hi, I’m Dr. Eric Cobb with Z-Health Performance.
Today, we’re going to go through five of my favorite go-to exercises for neck stiffness or neck pain.
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So let’s talk about the neck. Have you ever woken up? Can’t turn your head?
Or maybe you’re one of those people that suffers with chronic stiffness at the end of the day.
Well, I want to take you through five of my favorite exercises.
The first thing that we’re going to do is we’re going to warm up the neck from a sensory perspective.
One of the things that we teach is sensory before motor.
You need a washcloth or a towel or a very soft cat! I don’t care what you choose but what I want you to do is spend five to twenty seconds on the right posterior side of your neck, the left posterior side, the front of your neck on the left, front of the neck on the right.
It’s very important that we get a little sensory input around the neck before we begin the exercises.
So once you’ve done a little bit of sensory work, what we want to do now is we want to first get into a good posture, so stand up nice and tall, tuck your tailbone a little bit for most people, and then imagine that you’re pressing the head up to the ceiling.
This should cause your chin to tuck down a little bit, and we’re going to begin just basic range of motion work.
So you’re going to do ten repetitions of rotation.
You’re then going to go into ten repetitions of flexion and extension.
You’re going to follow that with ten repetitions of right and left lateral flexion. And then, finally, ten repetitions of anterior and posterior gliding. Alright?
Just go slowly. Keep the range of motion comfortable.
There should be no pain in any of that.
So after you’ve done your sensory warm-up, and you’ve done your basic range of motion, exercise number three, we want to go after some of the shoulder musculature.
So the first thing that we’re going to do is we’re going to get nice and tall tuck the tailbone, push the crown of the head up to the ceiling, take your right arm out.
I want you to pull your wrist back almost like you’re holding your phone and you’re trying to show your phone to the floor and then you’re going to turn your shoulder out and then extend your fingers.
From here, you’re going to tilt your head away and then turn your head toward a little bit.
Now, as you do this, I want you to slightly push your chin forward.
You’re going to get a nice stretch through the shoulder and you may even feel this into your arm.
I want you to hold that for twenty seconds, and then I want you to repeat that on the opposite side. So again, nice and tall.
Pull the wrist and fingers back, turn the shoulder out, tilt the head away, turn toward, and then push the chin forward just a little bit.
This should feel like a relatively intense stretch, but keep it in the three to four level on a one to ten scale.
Once we’ve done that, exercise four is for the front of the neck. So we’re gonna be set up very similarly.
The big difference is going to be the head position.
So again, tuck the tail, push up to the ceiling, arm position is the same, pull the wrist and fingers back, turn the shoulder out, lift it out to the side a little bit.
Now, from here, you’re going to turn your head away and tilt back. In this position, what I want you to now do is push your jaw forward and look up to the ceiling. As you do this, you should feel it intensely in the front of the neck.
These are very, very small muscles, so you need to be very careful with the amount of tension that you apply here. But again, hold for twenty seconds on each side.
Finally, we’re going to go to exercise number five. For this one, you’re going to take your right hand, you’re going to reach up and touch the top of your scapula, alright, your shoulder blade.
Once you’ve touched the top of your scapula, you’re going to turn your head away probably fifteen to twenty degrees, and you’re going to slowly begin bending forward. As you bend forward, you can also lift your elbow at the same time.
This is going to provide a very specific stretch right at the tip of the scapula. It feels amazing. Alright?
So again, hold for fifteen to twenty seconds. If holding is uncomfortable for you, you also have the option of just doing very minor small mobilizations.
Alright. So this whole routine should take you somewhere between five and six minutes.
I recommend that you check your range of motion, see how you’re feeling, do the exercises and then retest at the end.
Obviously, one round of this is not going to fix some kind of permanent issue, but this is a very cool and easy to apply routine that you can do anywhere.
I personally do it a couple times a day because it keeps my neck feeling great. So give this a shot. Let us know how it goes.