If you experience back or neck pain, you know it is some of the worst agony possible. Doing everyday things like vacuuming or doing the dishes can be overwhelming when your body is so uncomfortable. Thankfully, you don’t have to take this pain sitting down. Pain relief might be as easy as mastering a few daily stretches.
You can do many exercises to strengthen your spine and muscles and reduce the aching you experience. Neck and spinal pain can happen to anyone. Even infants and children are not immune. Here are some of the most common causes of this common ailment.
- Excess body weight
- Weak or unused muscles
- Degenerative diseases
- Arthritic conditions
If you live with this intense pain, you may feel like you’re all alone. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, back and neck pain is the most common cause of disability in this country. Additionally, it’s the most common reason that people seek medical help. Since it’s a common problem, you need to know how to get relief to sleep, work, and go about your life.
You can never be too careful when it comes to your back. Doing things like lifting inappropriately or too heavy can cause strain. However, spinal and neck pain is often unavoidable, even if you’re careful.
Some think ice or heat is the answer, while others turn to rest as a solution. However, exercising is one of the best ways to relieve pain. Even a mild workout can help to strengthen those muscles and keep everything in its proper place.
Stretches for Back and Neck Pain
Are you tired of dealing with tired and achy joints and muscles? Doing chores at home and work is a total nightmare. Here are ten stretches you can try to help alleviate pain while offering more strength and flexibility.
Yoga poses are ideal for relaxing and relieving pain in your muscles, joints, and bones. Both classic positions work your spine and surrounding muscles. They’ll also be helpful if you have neck pain.
How To Do the Cat-Cow Pose to Relieve Neck Pain:
- The starting stance is on all fours on your mat, with your neck in a neutral position.
- Align your knees directly under your hips with your palms lined up under your shoulders.
- As you inhale through your nostrils, pull behind in an arch to the center of your spine, like a cat.
- Pull your tummy toward your spine and allow your head to droop and relax.
- Hold this position for three to five breaths.
- Next, exhale slowly through your lips and return to the starting position.
- Go into the cow position by turning your face toward the ceiling.
- Sink your belly slowly toward the mat, so your middle back is concave. Hold this pose for three to five breaths.
- Finally, return to the starting position. This completes one set, and your goal is at least five repetitions.
2. Arm Circles
Have you ever noticed that you often have neck pain when your shoulders are tense? These gentle arm circles help release the tension and ease the pain in your neck and upper back. Some people also call this exercise “airplanes.”
How To Perform Arm Circles:
- Stand comfortably on your mat with your arms stretched straight out from both sides, palms facing downward.
- Gently move your arms forward, making small circles and gradually bigger ones. Breathe deeply as you are moving and feel the muscles relaxing.
- Do these circles for fifteen to twenty breaths.
- Now, repeat the steps in the opposite direction for another twenty breaths.
3. Shoulder Roll
Here’s another simple exercise that can ease neck pain. You can even do these while seated at home at your desk. Do these rolls whenever you feel the tension in your neck or upper spine.
How To Do a Shoulder Roll for Neck Pain Relief:
- Stand straight with your arms relaxed at your sides. You can use a chair for comfort while doing this neck exercise.
- Gently raise your shoulders and roll them backward five to ten times in a circle.
- Then, repeat the steps and roll them forward five to ten times.
- Try to do at least two to three sets, each going frontward and backward.
4. Neck roll
An article published by John Hopkins Medicine explains that neck pain is expected because of your neck’s location and range of motion. Doing these neck rolls periodically can alleviate aches and stiffness. They can also keep your neck and upper back limber to prevent pain.
How To Do the Neck Roll Correctly:
- Stand comfortably or sit with your spine straight and facing forward.
- Gently tilt your neck toward your right shoulder. You’ll feel a stretch in your neck and across your left shoulder.
- Hold this position for two breaths, then slowly roll your head counterclockwise.
- When your head reaches your left shoulder, hold for another two breaths.
- Continue circling your head until you return to the starting position.
- Repeat the steps toward your left side and roll your head clockwise. This completes one set.
- Your goal is to do two to three repetitions.
5. Overhead Arm Reach
Spinal and neck pain often radiates in your arms and hands. This sitting exercise benefits your arms as well as your upper body. If you prefer, you can also do it standing.
- Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor, or stand in a neutral position.
- Stretch your left arm over your head and reach toward the right.
- Twist your torso gently until you feel a stretch in your left side and shoulder.
- Hold for two to three breaths and return to the starting position.
- Repeat the same steps for your right shoulder.
- Try to do at least five repetitions.
6. Knee to Chest Lift
When you have pain in your middle and lower back, it makes sitting or standing difficult. Try this exercise that helps align your spine and relax those aching muscles.
How To Perform a Knee to Chest Lift for Pain Relief:
- Lie comfortably on your mat face up. If needed, you can use a small cushion under your hips.
- Bend your right leg, raise it toward your chest, and hold for five breaths.
- Release and return to the starting position.
- Now, repeat the steps with your left leg.
- See if you can do at least three to five repetitions.
7. Shoulder Blade Squeeze
Do you often feel the tension between your shoulder blades when stressed? Here’s a simple exercise to ease tension and relax your shoulders and upper spine. You can do these standing or sitting whenever you feel that familiar pain.
How To Relieve Neck Pain With the Shoulder Blade Squeeze:
- Stand or sit comfortably with both arms at your sides.
- Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for five breaths, and release.
- Repeat the steps three to five times.
8. Snow Angel
Remember lying in the snow as a kid and making snow angels? The same movements can strengthen your muscles and soothe the pain. If you want, you can do these movements while leaning flat against a wall.
How To Do the Snow Angel Exercise:
- Lie flat on your mat or stand with your spine flat against a wall.
- Stretch your arms into a “T” shape and bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
- Slowly and gently move both arms up and down above your head as if you’re making a snow angel.
- Try to keep your body flat against the mat or wall.
- Continue the motions for fifteen to twenty breaths.
Since you have so many responsibilities with family and work, you’re already a superhero. However, superheroes sometimes overwork their bodies and battle painful muscles and joints. This classic exercise can be your superpower.
How To Take Superhero Power to New Heights to Beat Neck Pain:
- Lie comfortably on your stomach and stretch your arms and legs above your head, keeping your neck relaxed.
- Use your glutes and back muscles to do the lifting.
- Hold the position for one to two breaths, then return to the starting position. Your goal is at least ten repetitions.
The butterfly is another easy exercise that can relieve shoulder and neck pain. You’ll feel the pleasant stretching throughout muscles in your upper body. They are especially beneficial if you do a lot of lifting or carrying things.
How To Do the Butterfly:
- Stand or sit comfortably and place your right palm on your left shoulder.
- Cross your left arm over and place your left palm on your right shoulder.
- Bring your elbows together until they touch or get as close as you can without pain.
- Hold this position for ten to twenty breaths, then release it to the starting position.
- Repeat this sequence three to five times.
Final Thoughts on Back and Neck Pain
These stretching exercises aim to minimize your pain, not worsen it. If you feel any pain while doing these, stop immediately. You can also consult a certified fitness expert for exercises tailored to your needs.
It’s exasperating to spend a day with spine or neck pain. Consider trying these helpful exercises or adding them to your usual fitness routine. They can make your muscles and joints more robust, more flexible, and provide a reasonable measure of pain relief.