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Stretches to Alleviate Neck Pain and Improve Posture

Neck pain is a common ailment that is experienced by a large number of individuals. There are many causes of neck pain.

Possible causes of neck pain include:

    • Tight muscles
    • Whiplash injuries that can be caused by car accidents
    • Sports related accidents and injuries.
    • Poor posture which is a result of everyday activities that most individuals engage in such as using a computer, sitting for long periods of time, driving, texting.

In order to decrease the possibility of chronic neck pain, there are simple stretches and strengthening exercises that everyone can perform.

Stretches to Loosen Tight Muscles

Stretching your upper trapezius muscle.  

      • This muscle is large and can sometimes take over when performing simple everyday tasks. To stretch your upper trapezius muscle:
        • Look straight forward and lean one ear to your shoulder (to stretch right side, lean your left ear to your left shoulder, switch to stretch your left side).

Stretching the levator scapulae.

      • This muscle assists in raising your shoulder blade. To stretch this muscle:
        • Sit up straight, look down and then over to one armpit (to stretch the right side, look down and into your left armpit, switch to stretch your left side).

Stretching your scalene muscles.

      • These muscles sit on the side of your neck. To stretch these muscles:
        • Tilt your head back and look diagonally away from your body. A simple way to think about it is the opposite of how you would stretch your levator muscle, instead of down and in, look up and away from your body.

All of these stretches should be held for 20 seconds performing them 3 times on both sides, it does not matter whether or not you alternate from left to right when stretching a particular muscle.

Improving Posture

To work on overall posture individuals must decrease rounded shoulders and forward head. The photo below shows this posture, the right photo is how we should be standing, walking and sitting in order to decrease pressure on the neck.

Scapulae squeezes are an exercise that can be performed in order to decrease rounded shoulders.  To perform this exercise sit up straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together, do not raise your shoulders up (this will engage your upper trapezius), only squeeze in the middle of your back.

Chin tucks are an exercise that you can do in order to decrease forward head. To perform this exercise sit up straight, look forward and bring your chin back towards your neck. Your gaze should always be looking forward, don’t look down as you bring your chin back towards your neck. Chin tucks and scap. squeezes should be held for 5 seconds and performed in sets of 15-20

Timmy Huynh, ATC

CLICK HERE for more information about the importance of good posture!

At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, our expert physical therapists will help you get rid of your neck pain, through specific strengthening and stretching exercises.

If you or someone you know is dealing with any kind of pain, or discomfort don’t wait.


Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300 and speak with one of our clinicians about how physical therapy can help you live life pain free.

Click HERE to learn more!

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