In a world where most people are on computers, their phones, or reading a book, most people position their necks downward. Unfortunately, this leads to significant tightness in the shoulders, upper back, and neck, which helps magnify the tightness in these areas. Neck stretches are something I am trying to do more of because ever since I was young, my neck was always tight. The neck remains incredibly tight for me, which is evident within massage, when I stretch my neck, and how my neck feels daily. Most people disregard the tightness in their necks and do not participate in activities to resolve this tightness. The issue continues to exacerbate and will begin to impact your lifestyle. By completing a few stretches for the neck every day, you can reduce unnecessary tightness in the neck. Reducing tightness in your neck may help reduce discomfort and tightness in other areas, explaining the necessity for these neck stretches.

WebMD composed an article with a title of “How to Stretch Your Neck” with four stretches for the neck. The first stretch is a forward and back tilt of the neck. You need to start with your head squarely over your shoulders and keeping a straight posture for the back. For thirty seconds, lower your chin towards your chest until you feel a stretch. If you want a deeper stretch, you can use your hands to push the neck’s base deeper into the stretch. After thirty seconds, take a deep breath as you slowly lift your head back up to the center. Then, tilt your chin up toward the sky and bring your skull towards you back. This should only be performed for ten seconds. In this position, you can use your fingers to help push your chin further upward. After ten seconds, take a deep breath and slowly return to the position. You should only do one set, but it is useful to repeat the exercise several times throughout the day for optimal results.

The second stretch is a side tilt of the neck. To complete this stretch, you need to start with your feet hip-width apart and arms down by your sides. After this, you will gently tilt your head toward your right shoulder, attempting to make your ear touch your shoulder. Stop when you feel a stretch and refrain from raising the shoulder because it can impede the stretches’ effectiveness. Hold this stretch for five to ten seconds and then slowly return to the start position. You will repeat this routine on the left shoulder to stretch both sides of the neck. You can try multiple sets simultaneously, but I would recommend performing them periodically throughout the day. For an extra stretch in this position, you can use your fingertips to press the neck deeper into the stretch lightly. 

The third stretch is a side rotation of the neck. To perform this stretch, you need to start at a neutral neck position with your head square, over the shoulders, and your back straight. Then, slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a stretch in the side of your neck and the shoulders. Hold this stretch for approximately thirty seconds and then return to the starting position. You will repeat this stretch on the other side of the neck to ensure a holistic neck stretch. If you want a deeper stretch in the neck, once you are at the neck’s limit of rotating, tilt your head back, attempting to make your cheek touch the shoulders while keeping the neck’s rotated position. Once again, you can try multiple sets simultaneously, but I would recommend completing them throughout the day to combat tightness effectively. 

The fourth stretch is a shoulder roll. While you can complete this sitting down, it would be best if you did it standing up. The simple yet effective stretch requires you to raise your shoulders up and move them in a circle forward six times. You will then move your shoulders in a circle going the opposite direction you were previously. Like the other stretches, it would best if you stretched numerous times throughout the day.

These stretches are easy and effective ways to reduce tightness in the neck, benefitting your posture, tightness in other body parts, and pain in other body parts. Significant tightness in the neck is rarely combatted, so I stress to perform these stretches even if it is only one stretch of each one per day. You control the tightness in your neck; if you want to combat the tightness, the more stretches you do, the better. However, it is essential you do not stretch to the point of pain and should be delicate when you perform these stretches. The best way to avoid tightness in the neck is to prevent staring downwards and try to elevate books, computers, or phones to a point where your neck does not need to look down. Since this is impossible to eliminate, stretching, exercises, and rolling out is the best approach.