Neck pain or strain can be caused by a variety of factors, including a pulled muscle, a ligament strain, or other injuries. Often, all you need to do to relieve neck strain is to give yourself some rest - followed by addressing what caused the strain in the first place - usually, a weak neck.
If you've never considered training your neck before, then you may want to give these neck strain exercises a try. In this post, we'll detail several helpful neck stretches & exercises you can do to relieve stiffness, improve flexibility, and get you back on the right track for overall health. Here's what you need to know.
How Long does It Take A Strained Neck Muscle To Heal On its Own?
In most cases, a neck strain will heal on its own within a few weeks. The timeline depends on the severity of the injury or strain, of course, as well as how much exercise you do. While you shouldn't necessarily attempt to exercise with a severe neck injury, if you just have a mild neck sprain with some stiffness, doing exercise can help relieve your suffering. Mild neck strains go away in less than a week while those that are more severe may take up to 12 weeks to heal.
Should I Exercise With A Strained Neck?
Motion is lotion - the more you move, the better you'll feel. Getting blood flow to your injury site will drastically speed up the timeline of healing. But, should you exercise with a strained neck?
You can exercise with a strained neck, in most cases - but with a few caveats. The first is that it is always wise to be medically cleared before you do so. As long as your doctor says it's okay, you can start working your neck as soon as possible to relieve neck pain and stiffness.
However, you should stop and seek medical attention if you ever experience severe neck pain while working out or suffer symptoms like arm or hand weakness. These can be signs of a more serious strain or injury.
You can perform most of these neck exercises on a daily basis, but it's important not to overtax yourself. Try just one stretch a day, waiting until the next day to attempt a new one. As time progresses, you may find that these stretches begin to feel more comfortable and that you can gradually increase the amount of time you spend doing each exercise.
What Exercises Relieve Neck Strain?
Here are some exercises to try if you're interested in relieving your neck strain fast - and ideally, without the use of expensive therapies or NSAIDs!
1. Neck Rotation
Neck rotation is a very simple stretch that can be done with or without any supplemental equipment. To do it, start by staring straight ahead, sitting straight up in a chair, or standing upright. With your chin held in a level position, turn your head to the left, then hold the position for up to 20 seconds. Turn to the right, then hold for another 20 seconds. You can repeat up to four times for each side and should feel a stretch deep in your neck muscles and shoulders.
2. Forward Neck Flexion
Another simple exercise that you can do is the forward neck flexion. Sit upright in a chair or stand up straight. Tilt your head down and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise up to four times.
3. Look Left, Look Right
This is a neck strain exercise that's best done with a resistance band and Iron Neck. It can help build strength and mobility in your neck and upper back while also relieving the most common causes of neck pain.
With Iron Neck secured atop your head, begin with a neutral position facing forward. Keep your shoulders back and your chest forward. Turn your head to the left and then to the right until you reach the end of your natural range of motion. While doing this, don't let your left or right shoulder move. You should feel a stretch deep in your neck. Complete this exercises five times, keeping your shoulders steady as you do so.
4. Locked Neck Body Turn
The locked neck body turn is effective at improving your mobility and relieving strain in your neck, back, and shoulders. To relieve neck strain, this exercise is best done with a device like the Iron Neck. Start in a deep squat position. Turn to the left, with your neck locked and facing forward, putting the impetus on your hips and inside of your legs to do the work.
Perform this exercise in all four directions. While doing these exercises, stay as deep in your squat as you can, getting your body into a side bend as you stretch. By putting the strain on your legs and hips, you'll open up any pressure in your back and neck, which should be locked into position by a neck harness and resistance band system like the Iron Neck.
5. Chin Tuck
The chin tuck is another simple exercise you can do to improve pain and tightness from a neck strain. Simply tilt your head forward, drawing your chin toward your chest. Keep your head steady and hold the position for a count of six. Then relax for ten seconds - repeat the move up to twelve times for the best results. You can also do this exercise while lying down. Place a rolled-up towel under your neck with the back of your head touching the floor.
6. Thoracic Rotation
Start in a kneeling position, using a resistance band and Iron Neck. Put your hands directly in front of you, making a thumbs up with both arms extended outward. Starting with your left side, stretch your arms backward, opening up your arms and squeezing your shoulder blades so you feel some activation in your shoulders and neck. Then, do the same thing with your right arm, repeating five to ten times for both sides.
What Equipment Is Needed To Perform These Exercises?
In most cases, you can perform these neck stretches and exercises without any extra equipment. Just get into the starting position and go! However, you may find it more helpful (and faster, and more effective!) to invest in some extra equipment. Iron Neck has a large selection of neck harnesses and resistance bands you can choose from. This gear is easy to use and will help you get more out of your workout so that you can relieve your neck strain more quickly.
The Iron Neck equipment is perhaps one of the very best tools you can use to perfect your posture, reduce the risk of injury, strengthen your neck, and of course, relieve neck pain and strain. A versatile solution to help you feel better, the Iron Neck lets you get a workout anywhere - even in the comfort of your own home or office.
And if you're new to exercising, the Iron Neck website has plenty of information on exercises you can do to make the most of your machine and to relieve neck strains in a jiffy. So what are you waiting for? Ditch the strain and pain and train with the Iron Neck Machine today.