Neck Rolls for Flexible Muscles and Pain Relief

1
Begin the Neck Roll with Your Head Facing Straight

Neck and head alignment
Neck and head alignment. Tim Flach / Getty Images

The start position for the neck roll is with your head is straight, and your gaze forward. Before you begin the movement, notice any tension that may be present in your muscles, especially the trapezius, which is located on top of your shoulders.

2
Roll Your Head to One Side

Neck exercise
Neck exercise. John Freeman / Getty Images

From the start position, very gently tip your head to your left. Paying attention to how your neck feels during this movement will help you do it safely. If it is painful, or your neck just doesn't feel right, go less far, or stop the exercise altogether, as this may not be the stretch for you. The rule of thumb is: Stay in a pain free range of movement.

3
Roll Your Head Back

Neck exercise
Neck exercise. John Freeman / Getty Images

Very gently, roll your head back into an extended position with your eyes facing the ceiling. As with the movement that goes to the side, monitor for pain or discomfort and adjust your intensity accordingly. This part of the neck roll challenges and strengthens the muscles on the back of the neck, and stretches those in front.

4
Roll Your Head to the Other Side

Neck exercise
Neck exercise. John Freeman / Getty Images

With your head back, very gently roll your head to your right. Again, monitor for pain or discomfort and adjust so that you remain in a safe zone of motion.

A roll to the side will stretch the neck muscles that are located on the side away from which you are moving, and contract those on the side towards which you are taking your head.

5
Roll to the Front

Neck Exercise
Neck Exercise. John Freeman / Getty Images

 Next, gently roll your head so that your chin faces down and a little toward the front of your neck. This stretches the muscles at the back of your neck and contracts those in front.

6
Return Your Head to the Start Position

Neck and head alignment
Neck and head alignment. Tim Flach / Getty Images

With your head down, finish the movement by bringing it back up to the start position where your gaze is forward.

Continue Reading