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3 Neck Stretches for Neck Pain and Forward Head Posture

If you have chronic neck pain or find yourself looking down at your phone too much these 3 stretches for neck pain may be helpful.

neck stretches for neck pain

Posture, Posture, Posture

Before we talk about neck stretches we need to talk about posture. Remembering good posture can be critical in preventing or alleviating neck pain.

What do we mean by good posture? Sit or stand straight up, with your chest out, shoulders back and head in a neutral position. Your head should be such that you are looking straight ahead and your ears are above your shoulders.

Time spent sitting at a desk or staring at a device has left many of us prone to forward head posture  (FHP). This common habit of looking down at your device with your back slightly hunched and neck rolled forward can lead to neck pain caused by pinched nerves, tight muscles and more.

One of the biggest things many of us can do to help prevent or help with neck pain is to practice good posture.

Neck Stretches to Help with Neck Pain

Below are three stretches that can help with neck pain. As with any stretching or exercise program, you should consult your doctor before beginning and be aware of any pain you experience. If you feel your pain worsening with any of these exercises you should stop them immediately.

1 – Neutral Neck Position While Laying Down

So you don’t always remember proper posture? It happens. We get focused on our work (or social media feed) and fall into forward head posture. If this sounds like you, then this first stretch is a simple one that can help reduce the effects of FHP. This stretch can help your spine get back into the proper position.

Lay flat on your back on the floor or flat surface. Lay with your head directly on the floor. If this is too uncomfortable and you need a pillow, use as thin a pillow as possible. Rest in this position for 5-10 minutes. Repeat as often as once per hour.

2 – Standing Neck Retraction

Like the stretch above, this next stretch can also help bring the spine in your neck into proper position.

Stand up straight with your chest out and shoulders back. Keeping your head faced forward, pull your chin backward as if you’re trying to pull in into your neck. If it helps you can use your fingers to push your chin backwards. Hold this stretch for a few seconds, then release the position. Repeat the stretch about 8-10 times. This stretch can be done 3-4 times a day.

3 – Neck Retraction While Laying Down

This stretch, similar to the standing neck retraction, stretches the cervical (neck) area of your spine past the neutral position. Like the rest of the stretches, this counteracts forward head posture. The main difference between this stretch and the standing neck retraction is that this one is done lying down.

Lay flat on your back on the floor or other flat surface. With your head centered, looking straight up, pull your chin back as if trying to push it closer to the floor. You can also use your hand to push your chin down. You should feel the back of your neck stretch. It will feel like an unnatural position for the front of your neck. If you feel pain, ease up on the downward pressure of your chin. Hold the position for a few seconds then release. Repeat this 8-10 times.



*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery