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Articles

Thursday, February 4, 2021, 11:42 AM
 

As much as you want to, you can't always get in to see your practitioner when tension and pain knock on the door.

If you experience pain regularly, take note of the exercises and stretches your massage therapist shares with you to do at home. Keeping up with the home care they recommend can help reduce pain and improve range of motion.

If you don't have at-home stretches from your massage therapist, try these four stretches to help relieve neck tension between appointments. Remember, if any actions or movements are painful, stop immediately. 

 

Side Tilt Stretch

What muscles does this target?

The side tilt targets the upper trapezius, the SCM (sternocleidomastoid), and the longissimus capitus.

How do you do it?

  1. Begin in a standing position, making sure your posture is firm and straight and your arms are by your side.
  2. Gently tilt your head to one side, reaching your ear towards your shoulder. Remember to keep the shoulders down, until you feel a stretch. Hold the stretch for five to ten seconds, then release your head back to neutral.
  3. Repeat on the other side.

 

Side tilt neck stretch demonstrated

 

Forward and Backward Tilt Stretch

What muscles does this target?

The forward flexion targets the upper trapezius, splenius cervicis and capitus, longissimus, and suboccipitals. The backward tilt targets the platysma and SCM.

How do you do it?
 

  1. Begin in a standing or seated position with your head square over your shoulders and your back straight. 
  2. Lower your chin towards your chest until you feel a stretch. Hold in this position for 10 to 15 seconds, then release your head back to a neutral position. 
  3. Tilt your head back towards the ceiling until you feel a stretch. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then release your head back to a neutral position. Be careful when tilting your head backward, as it may cause dizziness as it compresses the vertebral artery.
  4. Repeat as needed.

Forward- and backward-tilt neck strech demonstration

 

Side Rotation Stretch

What muscles does this target?

The side rotation stretch targets the splenius capitis and cervicis as well as the suboccipitals.

How do you do it?
 

  1. Start in a seated or standing position with your back straight and your head directly over your spine. 
  2. Gently turn your head to the side until you feel a stretch. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then release. 
  3. Repeat on the other side. 

Side rotation neck stretch demonstration

 

Shoulder Roll Stretch

What muscles does this target?

A shoulder roll stretches the upper and mid fibres of the trapezius.

How do you do it?

  1. Start by standing with your arms by your side and your head and back straight. 
  2. Roll your shoulder forward in a circular motion. Draw 10 circles forward then stop and repeat in the opposite direction. 
  3. Repeat as needed.

Shoulder roll neck stretch demonstration

 

These four movements aren't guaranteed to relieve all tension, but they can help. If your pain continues you should schedule appointment with your local massage therapist or consult your doctor if it worsens. Remember, if any actions of movements are painful stop immediately.

Don't know of a practitioner in your area? Search our Health Provider Directory to find one near you.