Stretching Your Injured Neck
It is common for a person who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident to suffer from neck pain. Performing neck stretches two to three times per day can help ease your neck pain. Talk to your doctor or health care practitioner before starting a stretching program.
- Reduced neck pain
- Increased range of motion
- Increased circulation
- Reduced neck stiffness
Ideally your body should be warm when you stretch. Imagine your muscles are like a rubber squash ball. When the ball is cold it doesn’t bounce well but once it’s warm, it becomes more elastic. It is wise to have a hot shower or go for a walk before you stretch to increase your muscle temperature. Aim to hold each neck stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat each stretch two times on each side, left and right. If you have significant pain holding these stretches for 20 seconds, start by holding them for 10 seconds and work up to 20 seconds. It’s important to stop in a end position where you feel a very gentle stretch. Do not force the stretch. If you experience an increase in your symptoms, you need to lessen the stretch by not moving so far. In time, it will become less painful.
Start with your head facing forward. Gently tilt your head towards your shoulder until you feel a light stretch. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat the same movement with your head tilted to your other shoulder.
Look over your shoulder as if you are doing a shoulder check. Hold this position for 20 seconds before turning your head to the other side. When you are turning to look left, you should feel the stretch at the right side of your neck.
Begin looking straight ahead. Slowly lower your chin towards your chest. Stop when you feel a gentle pull at the back of your neck. Hold for 20 seconds. Return your head to the starting position.
Turn your head 45 degrees to the side and then lower your chin to your chest. Hold this position for 20 seconds before returning to the starting position looking forward. When you turn your head to your left side, you will feel a stretch on the right side of your neck.