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5 Exercises That Benefit Your Neck

Did you know that neck pain is one of the most common problems among the modern adult? One study found that more than 20 percent of people reported neck pain — that’s 1 out of every 5 people! Those who worked at a desk were more likely to experience the pain, thanks to all those hours spent sitting and leaning.

The good news is that neck pain can be cured with a few simple exercises. Spend 10-15 minutes each day doing the exercises below, and you’ll find yourself plagued by far fewer neck aches and pains:

Chin Tuck

Stand with your back against a wall and your spine as straight as possible. Without raising your chin, push your head backward until it is pressing against the wall. Hold the pressure for 5 seconds, then release for 2 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

This exercise will help to stretch and strengthen the scalene muscles on your neck. It can do wonders to reduce the frequency of tight, knotted neck muscles.

Neck Machine

Some gyms and physical therapy offices include a special machine that works your neck. The machine has weights that you push down using your head, which requires your neck muscles to do the work. You can push forward, backward, and to both sides, for a balanced workout to strengthen your neck muscles from every angle.

Neck Protractions and Retractions

Lie on a bench with your neck and head hanging off the end. Have a partner place a hand on your chest to keep your torso flat against the bench, then another on your forehead. Use your neck to push your head upward, with your partner providing some resistance to make the muscles work hard.

Now, flip onto your stomach and repeat the process on the other side, this time raising your head backward to work your neck muscles from the opposite angle. Repeat 10 to 20 times per side.

Plate Neck Resistance

This exercise works similar to the protractions and retractions but using a weight disc or plate instead of working with a partner. Lie on your back on the bench, with your head hanging over the edge. Hold a weight plate to the top of your head, and use your neck muscles to lift ONLY your head.

Roll over onto your stomach and repeat on the other side. Go for 10-20 repetitions per side.

Isometric Neck Exercise

Think of this as a “Plank” for your neck. Place your hands on your forehead and push backward, all the while using your neck muscles to keep your head straight. Hold for 15-25 seconds, then repeat on the back and sides of your head. This isometric exercise will contract your neck muscles without joint movement, thereby reducing the risk of joint injuries.

Note: Be VERY careful with neck exercises! The cervical spine is very delicate and can be damaged far more easily than the rest of your spinal column. Avoid doing anything that could push the muscles too hard, as that’s when you’re most likely to injure yourself.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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