How to ease a stiff, sore neck | Back In Motion

Make a booking

Three simple exercises to help your sore neck

Published: 07 June 2016 - Pain Management, Physio Tips

Female reading on her mobile phone

In this age of technological connectivity, physiotherapists are seeing more and more people with stiff and sore necks (also known as text neck).

When we are on our computers or phones, we end up with a forward head posture which leads to stiff joints and tight muscles around the neck.

If you don’t do something to reverse these effects, you can end up feeling sore when you wake up in the morning or at the end of a long day - for months on end!

Here are some simple exercises you can try to reduce the soreness and improve the movement of your stiff neck.

1. Trap stretch

The trapezius muscle can get overworked and become very tight. If you press around the top of your shoulders you’ll most likely feel some soreness or tightness.

To complete the stretch: Bring your left ear towards the left shoulder, until you feel a stretch on the right. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Repeat hourly. 

Image of a man stretching his neck

2. Improve your posture

When we continually sit or stand with a forward head position, our bodies become so used to it, that it becomes our default position. In order to get back to good posture, you need to work muscles called the deep neck flexors. You strengthen them by doing this easy exercise:

Push your head backwards while keeping your chin tucked down. Push back until you feel a stretch deep in your neck. Hold for 3 seconds. Do 15 repetitions AT LEAST 3 times a day. The more sets you do, the better the effect.

Step 1                     Step 2: Tuck chin in and push head back slightly, easing into the stretch.

3. Shoulder blade squeezes

When your head goes forwards, your shoulders soon follow. Being rounded through the upper back makes the effects of poor posture worse. Getting better posture through the shoulders can also assist with neck soreness.

To stretch: gently squeeze the shoulder blades together and hold for 3 seconds. Complete 15 repetitions AT LEAST 3 times a day.

Image of a man's back                    Image of a man squeezing shoulder blades together

Further reading:

Is it a migraine or a neck-related headache?
How technology is ruining your posture and what to do about it

Author

Tung Ngo - Physiotherapist - Back In Motion Aspendale Gardens

Tung grew up in Perth and came to Melbourne to study Physiotherapy at Monash University. He speaks conversational Cantonese and broken Mandarin, both of which he is working on to become fluent. His clinical interest areas include lower back pain, neck pain, and lower limb injuries involving the hip, knee and ankle. He is also passionate and keen to explore post graduate education in Clinical Exercise and dry needling.

Outside of work Tung maintains his physical fitness with hiking, gym and body weight exercises. He is interested in starting competitive lifting and utilising physiotherapy and Clinical Exercise to improve athletic performance.