Exercises to Relieve Neck Muscle Spasms

Neck spasms are an involuntary contraction of the muscles of the neck, resulting in a feeling of tightness or pain. Neck spasms may occur from an injury, overuse, poor posture or stress. Once you've had a medical evaluation to determine the cause of neck spasms, it is often appropriate to begin a stretching program.

Man in car holding his neck
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Neck Rotation

Sit tall, with good posture and then turn and look over your left shoulder. This stretch can be increased by placing your left palm on the right side of your face and providing gentle pressure towards the left. You should repeat this exercise by looking over your right shoulder and adding pressure with the right hand to the left side of your face. This exercise will stretch the muscles on each side of the neck and shoulders. Each stretch should be held for 30 seconds and performed three to five times per day.

Chin to Armpit

Clasp both hands behind your back, sit up straight and then allow your head to drop forward, with your chin pointing toward your left armpit. After a 30 second stretch, return to the starting position and then allow your head to fall forward with your chin pointing to your right armpit. This exercise will stretch the muscles of the back of your neck and upper back and should be repeated three to five times per day.

Ear to Shoulder

Sit with your hands hanging by your sides. Looking straight ahead, lower your left ear toward your left shoulder, stretching the muscles on the right side of the neck and shoulder. After 30 seconds, repeat the motion lowering the right ear to the right shoulder. This exercise should be repeated three to five times per day.

Chin Tucks

Chin tucks are performed by placing the fingertips on the chin and gently pushing the head straight back as if trying to make a double chin. Keep your head level and look straight ahead while holding the chin tuck for five seconds. Chin tucks are an effective exercise for improving posture if you spend long periods of time sitting at a desk.

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