How to Relieve Neck Pain with a Yoga-with-Weights Stretch - dummies

How to Relieve Neck Pain with a Yoga-with-Weights Stretch

By Sherri Baptiste, Megan Scott

To relieve neck pain, you can perform the following stretching yoga-with-weights exercise, which is designed to strengthen your neck muscles. It tones the posterior muscles of your neck, opens up your upper chest, and tones the muscles along your spine. The exercise creates an isolated muscle contraction that helps to maintain the natural curve of your neck and strengthen the supporting muscles around your neck.

What causes neck pain? Usually, weakness in the muscles of the neck is the culprit, although abnormal sleeping positions, injury, and poor posture can also be causes.

If you have acute pain in your neck, consult your healthcare provider for an evaluation and physical-therapy referral.

Don’t attempt this exercise if you’ve recently had whiplash or compressions in your sternum or vertebrae from an accident of some kind. Consult your healthcare provider for clearance before you attempt strengthening exercises.

Grab your hand weights for this stretching exercise and follow these steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, your elbows bent and at your sides, and the weights in your hands with your palms facing inward.

    This is the starting position. Engage the muscles of your belly for support.

  2. Press into your elbows and, using the muscles in the backs of your arms, lift your shoulders and back off the ground; lift your chin as well while you arch your back.

    In this position, the lumbar curve of your lower back lifts up toward your navel, and your belly pulls in and up. Lift your shoulders and chest up, and widen your collarbone. Don’t throw yourself into this position; lift your body slowly.

    You should feel the back of your head pressing into the floor and the muscles in the back of your neck engaging.

  3. Hold this pose for three full breaths and then relax back to the starting position (see Step 1).

    Take slow, relaxed breaths. If you can’t hold the pose for three full breaths, hold it as long as you can.