3 Neck Exercises for Quick Relief

Are you tired of that constant nagging neck pain that hinders your productivity and dampens your mood? We’ve all experienced those moments when the stress and strain of daily life seem to settle right in our necks, causing discomfort and tension. But fear not!

In this article, we’re here to share three incredibly simple yet effective neck exercises that can provide you with quick relief whenever you need it. Whether you spend long hours in front of a computer screen or carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, these exercises are designed to ease tension, improve flexibility, and promote relaxation. So, let’s dive in and discover the key to a pain-free and revitalized neck!

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The Importance of Breathing Mechanics

Now, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t talk a little bit about why we might get neck pain, and one of the biggest reasons is not so much that we’re sitting with the forward head posture or texting all day but rather poor breathing mechanics.

We breathe 25,000 times a day and ideally, we are using our diaphragm to do that. When we are breathing from our neck and shoulders, however, contributes to increased tone in the neck.

3 Neck Exercises for Quick Relief

Exercise 1: Optimizing Your Breath

One of the most crucial aspects of combating neck pain lies in optimizing our breath. If you want to take it a step further, you may explore airway dysfunction in detail. However, at the bare minimum, you can work on the basic mechanics of proper tongue posture—resting your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

As you breathe in through your nose, focus on directing your breath upwards instead of straight back, as this can make a significant difference. Additionally, allow your abdomen to expand 360 degrees like a big balloon as you inhale. This simple foundation will pave the way for the subsequent exercises.

Exercise 2: The Salamander

The second exercise is called the salamander. This is an exercise adapted from Stanley Rosenberg, who wrote “The Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve.”

To begin, interlace your fingers and place them behind the back of your head, ensuring they touch the occipital area. Gently bend your upper body to the side while simultaneously looking in the opposite direction with your eyes. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Once you return to the center, switch sides, face forward, and look the other way while maintaining the hold for another 30 seconds. You can assess your range of motion both before and after the exercise to witness the improvement.

If one side causes slight discomfort, feel free to use one hand. By engaging our hands, eyes, and the neurological connection between them, we stimulate the vagus nerve and spinal accessory nerve, which leads to neck relaxation and overall nervous system calmness.

Exercise 3: Myofascial Release Technique

The last one that I really love is a myofascial technique that’s very simple, and you can do it anywhere, anytime.

Start by placing your hand flat on the outside of your neck, gently moving it towards your ear.

As you provide traction, you’ll naturally bring your head back into an optimal alignment, resulting in a pleasant sensation. Moreover, this technique targets the lymph nodes and stimulates the vagus nerve, promoting relaxation and an ideal head posture.

You can hold this position for 30 seconds up to two minutes, depending on your comfort level. It’s a highly valuable exercise that offers both release and stimulation.

Incorporating these Exercises into Your Daily Routine

I would suggest exploring all of these throughout the course of your day. These are three of many exercises that you could do to help relieve it. Although, if you sit at your desk all day, the most important thing is to get moving.

Always think movement variability is the key to preventing pain and injury.

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Vagus Nerve Hack | Neck Release

Not only can you consciously tap into the power of your vagus nerve; you should.

Known as the “wandering nerve” in Latin, it begins in the brainstem and innervates the muscles of the throat, circulation, respiration, digestion and elimination tracks. It accounts for 80 percent of our parasympathetic, or “rest and digest,” nervous system.

Healthy vagal activity is associated with better physical and mental well-being. Otherwise, it can cause issues such as inflammation, heart disease, and strokes.

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In other blogs, we have covered some of the best vagus nerve hacks. Today’s neck release will not only target some of the key muscles that are involved in stress breathing, but also the carotid artery which moves into the carotid sinus, innervated by the vagus nerve.

So just like all the other vagus nerve hacks, this will induce a relaxation response. We are doing this through stimulation of the vagus nerve via the carotid sinus.

How To Perform This Exercise

To perform this exercise, use a small to medium-sized ball, preferably soft, and gently place it on the left side of the upper neck right under your ear. You will compress, shear, and lengthen, by placing some pressure into the tissue and then gently twisting the ball across the neck. You want to be gentle with your twist and you want to move your head in the opposite direction as you are doing this. Once you get to the center of your neck, you’ll want to be more cautious because you have your hyoid bone, larynx, pharynx, and esophagus there, which will be a little more sensitive. Then, continue to rotate the ball to the other side of your neck while naturally rotating your head in the opposite direction.

So what are some things that you may experience after performing this exercise?

1) You may feel like your face and neck feel much more relaxed or softened.

2) You may feel a sigh, swallow, or yawn which is a sign of relaxation of the nervous system.

3) You may feel warmth in your face.

4) You may feel like you can see, hear, or speak more clearly. This is due to the stimulation of the vagus nerve, and some of the other facial and cranial nerves.

The great thing about these simple vagus nerve hacks is that you can do them anytime and anywhere during the day. It can bring you back to this parasympathetic state, the state of social engagement, where you are connected, mindful, and joyful.

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