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Video:Stretches to Reduce and Prevent Neck Pain

with Leslie Nesbitt

Learn how to safely and effectively stretch your neck to prevent both neck pain and injury.See Transcript

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Transcript:Stretches to Reduce and Prevent Neck Pain

Hi, I'm Leslie Nesbitt for About.com Health.

Neck Pain Causes

Today we're going to look at two great neck stretches that you can do either standing or seated at your desk. Many of us hold stress and tension in that neck and shoulder area. So if you can, do these when your body's warmed up. But if you're seated at your desk, for example, just take your time and do them slowly.

Positioning for Neck Pain Reduction

Now to get started make sure the shoulders are relaxed and loose. You can roll them back a little bit and then reverse that process. Isolate the shoulders. Also be aware of your jaw and teeth. If they're crunched together, try to relax them throughout these series of stretches.

Stretching to Prevent Neck Pain

So we're going to take the fingertips of one hand up over the top of the head, lightly just above the ear, and we're going to use that to guide the head over to the side. Now here you can play with the position of the chin. Maybe down is better, maybe neutral, maybe up is better for you as you stretch up that side of the neck.

Extra Stretch and Release

To add a little more you can extend the opposite hand. It's on an angle, that arm reaches out, drawing energy through the fingertips to complete the stretch. And after you've taken 4 or 5 deep breaths, release and relax slowly and then we'll go to the other side, repeating on that other side.

Stretch 2 for Neck Pain Prevention

Now the second neck stretch we're going to drop the ear to the shoulder and then slowly sweep the chin down just in front of the chest, not touching the chest, and then coming over to the other side. Same thing here, maybe chin down is better for you, or up.

And then when you're finished, bring the head back to neutral.

Potential Mistakes in Neck Pain Prevention

Now one thing you don't want to do, you're bringing that ear over, sweeping the chin down, all that is good, but I don't recommend that you drop the head back. That can be tough on that neck area and those tiny vertebrae back there.

Breathe deeply as you go through these stretches.
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