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How Do You Loosen Tight Neck Muscles?

tight neck muscles

My name is Hoang Tran. I’m here to share with you my top exercises for tight neck muscles that I share with all my clients, I share with my team members, I share with my family, and my friends.

How do you Loosen up Tight Neck Muscles?

If you’re someone who’s feeling tight neck muscles because maybe you sit for long periods, maybe you’re on your smartphone all the time. All of this is quite normal. We see this all the time in our clinic. I’m gonna share with you the four top exercises that I do.

And I just want you to believe that this has nothing to do with age. And I teach this to my teenagers as well as to my parents who are almost 80. So, if you are just suffering from some neck tightness, these are some really easy movements that you can do that is safe for everybody.

So, just be aware that you don’t wanna do anything that’s going to cause you any kind of pain, But be aware of, like, your body type. I have a very loosey-goosey body, like, my fingers, I’m very bendy basically. So you might be a little bendy, too. If you are stiff as a board, you’re going to feel tight and stiff and maybe not have that much movement, but that’s okay.

You can still do these movements and still get some results for loosening up these neck muscles. You just have to do them a few times.

Exercises on Loosen Tight Neck Muscles

Firstly, it’s crucial to listen to your body. Whether you’re naturally flexible or a bit stiffer, these exercises can still bring relief. The goal is to alleviate tension without causing any discomfort. Let’s dive into the top four exercises for loosening those tight neck muscles.

1. Standing Extension:

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, placing your hands on your waist or lower hips. Initiate a standing extension by pushing your hips forward and leaning your body backward. Move gently, keeping your knees straight. This repetitive motion helps relax and shorten the muscles in your back connected to your neck. Aim for 10 repetitions, going as far as comfortable without any pain.

2. Twisting:

While I usually recommend doing this seated, you can try it standing. Lock your hips, place your hands on your chest, and twist gently to each side. Choose the direction that feels easiest; moving into ease rather than restriction is ideal. Twisting towards your “yummy side” helps release the muscles connected to your neck without causing any discomfort.

3. Thoracic Spine Stretch:

Clasp your hands behind your neck, letting your elbows fall forward. For a more targeted stretch, drive your elbows up to the ceiling and back down. Repeat this motion 10 times to help loosen the muscles in your upper back, relieving neck tension.

4. Self-Massage:

Perform a light self-massage by tilting your ear to one side, shortening the muscles on that side. Experiment with gentle massage and movement, pulling the muscle forward or pushing it back. Focus on the direction that feels best for you, promoting a safe and easier way to reduce neck tension.

Give these exercises a shot and let me know if they help alleviate your neck tightness. If your mobility issues persist or if you experience pain, I recommend seeking guidance from a trusted occupational therapist or physical therapist. They can address the root cause of the problem and guide you toward long-term relief. If you enjoy content like this, drop a comment below, and I’ll make more posts tailored to your needs!

Now, if you have a little bit more of a problem, like, you’ve lost a lot of motion, like for example, you’ve lost a lot of motion because you’ve gotten stiffer and stiffer, it’s gonna take you a little bit longer and there might be other things that you need to do in between. So you’re tight or you’re beginning to…you know, you have pain, then one of the things I recommend is to find a trusted occupational therapist or physical therapist that can help you get the relief that you’re looking for, longer term.

So this is just to get you started, but if you have…like, if it keeps persisting, or you have neck pain when you’re doing these things, then don’t do them. Find a trusted therapist. It’s going to help to take a look at, like, “Hey, what’s the root cause of that problem?” and help you work through those imbalances. If you like blogs like this, then comment below so I can know and make more posts for you.

About Hoang Tran – an expert in physical & occupational therapy  

Hoang Tran is a Miami-certified hand therapist, the owner of Hands-on Therapy Services and the author of the book “The Hands-On Approach”. She loves helping people with hand, neck and shoulder problems because she knows how bad and debilitating they can get if not addressed and treated properly (once and for all!). 

Her occupational therapy practice aims to bring patients back to full functionality, without pills, injections or surgery. Occupational and Physical Therapy are both offered at Hands-On Therapy by our experienced therapists who provide a comprehensive approach to your care. 

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