Neck & Shoulder Stretches

While most neck exercises have you doing simple neck movements, these work to include the upper back and shoulders as well, areas that share muscles and functionality with the neck. For example, if you turn your head, you can feel your thoracic spine move clear down to the middle back. If a shoulder is restricted, it also puts a mechanical burden on the neck.

I designed the following exercises to bring motion back not only to the neck, but also that harder to reach zone between the shoulders, where a fixation can cause strain or spasm back up into the neck. They do this primarily by leading with the shoulders. These cooperative movements of groups of muscles work out problems and restore balance.

I recommend doing these exercises when getting up in the morning or before bed. They can also be useful in eliminating neck pain and headaches.

It is good to start with a little set of warm-ups. I recommend first doing gentle shoulder rolls each direction, backstroke movements with each arm, hip circles, and simple body rotations back and forth while elevating the hands up overhead, then proceeding with the exercises below.

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