Yoga for Neck Pain and Headaches, Part 1: Stretching the Neck

Neck pain and headaches are often caused by excessive muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, which can lead to nerve impingements, disc misalignments and feelings of tension, discomfort and pain in the neck and head. These symptoms can be relieved, or at least partially relieved, with a regular stretching routine that lengthens all of the major muscle groups of the neck and shoulders.

The Muscles of the Neck

The major muscle groups of the neck include the erector spinae, scalenes, levator scapulae, upper trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles.  To learn how to stretch each muscle group individually, watch the following videos:


Simple Yoga Exercises For Neck Pain Relief

Neck Stretch: Anterior Scalenes

Neck Stretch: Anterior Scalenes

This stretch is designed to access the anterior scalenes, a layer of deeper neck muscles that cover both sides of the neck. They are often quite tender and tight, so this stretch can provide a lot of relief.
 

Neck Stretch: Levator Scapula

Neck Stretch: Levator Scapula

There is no better stretch that gets the muscle that attaches to the shoulder blade from the neck, the Levator Scapula. This can be a chronically tight muscle for many, making this stretch a great source of relief.
 

Neck Stretch: Side Stretch

Neck Stretch: Side Stretch

This move stretches the muscles on the side of the neck, including the Upper Trapezius, Scalenes and Erector Spinae.

 
 

Neck Stretch: Rotation

Neck Stretch: Rotation

One of the ways that we accumulate tension in our neck is by turning it quickly to look at something without awareness of how it feels. This pose focuses on ensuring that you have proper alignment while improving your necks range of motion.

 

Neck Stretch: Sternocleidomastoid

Neck Stretch: Sternocleidomastoid

This pose stretches the muscles that simply dont get stretched enough... muscles that on many are chronically tight and can cause headaches.

 

 

Neck Stretch: Circles

Neck Stretch: Circles

Moving your head in slow, gentle circles is a great warm up exercise before stretching and a nice way to complete a series of neck stretches.



Yoga Classes to Relieve Neck Pain

Gentle Yoga for the NeckGentle Yoga for the Neck

This 10 min. beginners yoga class takes you through how to stretch all of the major muscle groups of the neck, including those that are commonly responsible for headaches.
 

Office Yoga for the Neck and ShouldersOffice Yoga for the Neck and Shoulders

This 13 min. beginner yoga class is a perfect way to spend a short break in your work day, stretching the muscles that get so tight from sitting at your desk for hours.


Yoga for Carpal Tunnel SyndromeYoga for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome... and all Shoulder and Neck Problems Caused by Chronic Computer Use

This class helps prevent and heal the problems that are caused by sitting at the computer.
 

 

Next Week: Alleviating Neck Pain and Headaches, Part 2: Stretching the Shoulders

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Comments

Thank you
marilyn_sims 1 year ago

Thank you for making this website ! For me I wanted to get into yoga - but felt intimated going to classes when everyone is experienced. Now I feel I can know the yoga jargon and positions and can go to a class without feeling out of place. I still use this site for my own yoga I do when I can. Trying to do it daily. Thank you :)

Thank you!
RiverFlower 1 year ago

Thank you for being here. I have done at least 1 or 2 of your videos, and read some of your articles. I have been in several car accidents and played high impact sports. I have problems with neck pain and migraines. Practicing yoga from home means the world to me. :)