Exercise • 15 Jul 2020

Simple Self-Stretching Exercises for Neck and Shoulder Pain

By uci_admin

Neck and shoulder pain may be worsened by stress.  Individuals tend to lift up and tighten muscles around the neck and shoulder area when stressed. Acupuncture treatment is generally very helpful in relieving muscle tension, but if you are unable to receive acupuncture treatment, the following stretches may be supportive as well.

There are 5 simple stretching exercises (make sure no one is staring at you):

  1. Turning left and right:

While sitting or standing, simply turning your head all the way to your left shoulder and then to your right shoulder 32 times. Make sure you turn your head slowly and straight (trying not to bend your neck). If you feel pain when you’re turning, just do it slowly and do not force or go past a painful point.

  1. Lean on your shoulders:

While sitting or standing straight, lean your head gently to your left and right shoulder 32 times. You should not rush to finish. Just let the gravity gently pull your head toward your shoulders for a bit when your head is leaning to the side.

  1. Bend up and down:

Start with sitting straight in a chair with good back support. Slowly look up and bend forward against the back support of the chair. Then, slowly bend your neck down and try to use your chin to touch your chest. Do this 32 times as well.

  1. Forward turtle neck stretch:

While sitting or standing straight, use your chin to make a circle by starting with digging deep down and up outwards and back up again to your normal position. Again, do this slowly 32 times.

  1. Backwards turtle neck stretch:

Sitting or standing straight, use your chin to a make circle, by starting with stretching up and reaching forward, to digging deep and returning back to normal position. It is like the last exercise but in opposite direction. Do this slowly 32 times.

Remember to do all 5 movements together at least once a day. Remember to do it slowly. It won’t take more than 15 minutes to finish. You could do it after waking up, before sleep, or whenever you have time.

By: Sheng Li, PhD, LAc

SSIHI Provider, Acupuncture

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