How to cure a pain in the neck -

How to alleviate neck strain

Do you ever feel like you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? It's no wonder: Whether you're hunched over your computer, slouching behind the steering wheel or slinging a heavy bag over your shoulder, your neck is going to take the brunt of it.

America Now wellness expert, Peggy Hall, shares her three favorite stretches to get rid of neck pain  -- anytime, anywhere!

Stretch 1: Sit tall and look over your right shoulder as far as you can, keeping your chin level to the ground. "Note a spot on the wall where you gaze falls," Peggy recommends. "This will show you what your range of motion is now, before you stretch your neck more deeply."

Next, massage the right side of your neck, then tap on your upper back (the trapezius) and your shoulder muscles (deltoid) with the knuckle of your thumb.
Finally, try the stretch again on the same side and notice the difference. Repeat the sequence on the other side.

Stretch 2: Interlace your hands behind your head and sit tall. Inhale as you look up and press your head into your hands. Lift your chin, pull your elbows back, then exhale as you use your thumbs to lengthen the back of your neck as you tuck your chin. Peggy notes not to pull or tug on the head. "The weight of your hands is enough to help ease you into the stretch," she says. Repeat two more times, breathing deeply and just going to your limit. Don't force or strain.

Stretch 3: Massage your upper back, smoothing your upper back (trapezeius) muscles forward. Do that a few times, then pull the muscles forward and hold; look up, lift your chin and rock your head from side to side.

"Say 'ahhh' to stretch your throat and neck and notice how great you feel," says Peggy. "These easy stretches only take a few minutes and will give you energy for you task at hand! Bonus: the extra oxygen will clear your mind and refresh your outlook for better productivity and a brighter outlook."

Note: Never force or strain when you're doing any kind of stretch. Everyday tension and tightness responds really well to these stretches, but if you feel any real discomfort, back off and only go at about 75 percent.

"It might be that you have a pinched nerve in your neck instead of a sore muscle," Peggy explains. "In that case, use ice to help bring down the inflammation and leave the neck stretches until you can move through them without undue discomfort."

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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