Self help top tips for the neck

Sit or stand upright, lift up from your chest, tuck your chin in slightly.

Slowly turn your head to one side, hold when you can’t turn any further, attempt to look behind you. Hold. For extra interest move your jaw, open and close, screw up your face, big slow movements. Turn your head to the other side, and do the same. Notice the difference.

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Now bring one ear to the near shoulder, let the other shoulder drop. Wait. Next bend your arm at the wrist and stretch your arm out, imagining that it is elongating like a telescope. Hold. Place your hand just above your ear and let the weight of your arm deepen the stretch. Don’t yank or pull. Fine-tune the stretch with small movements until you find the point that feels really good.

Stretch of the back of the neck

Slowly nod. Make sure to tuck in your chin. Interlace your fingers and place them at the highest point of your head. Feel the weight of your arms. Try small movements from side to side. Uncurl, look up, open your chest.

To finish, roll your shoulders, shake out, put some music on, move about. Or go back to what you need to do.

Sit or stand upright, lift your chest, tuck your chin in slightly, or alternatively, imagine being gently pulled up by a golden thread from the crown of your head. Now place the palm of one hand on the skin of the top of your breast bone and stretch it down towards your belly. Place the other hand on top. While you stretch down push your chin in until you feel a stretch between you collar bone and neck. If you want to have a bit of fun grimace with your mouth, push the corners of the mouth down a lot, feel this in your chest muscles.

Often with tight muscles it can help to relax them a bit before you stretch. An effective way to do this yourself is by finding trigger points and releasing them. Trigger points are these exquisitely tender and knotted spots in our muscles, sometimes the pain radiates out. When you find a trigger point in a muscle hold it for about 12 seconds with a pain level no more that 6 on a scale from 1 to 10. Trigger point work can be tiring for your hands, so tennis or spiky balls come in useful. An easy way of doing this is lying on two spiky (or tennis balls) against the ridge of your skull and relax. You can loosen your pecs using a tennis ball. Place it underneath your collar bone and roll it about. You can also try to put your weight on the ball.

The double chin exercise. This is exactly what my name says: stand tall and do your "best" double/triple/quadruple chin. Hold for 12 seconds, repeat often.   

Alternatively, stand with your back against a wall. Roll out the shoulders so that your chest is open and the palms of your hands face to the front. Bring the back of your head against the wall while keeping your chin tucked in - so far the same as the previous exercise. Then take a small step away from the wall, pivoting on your head. Keep your neck and shoulders in the same position. Don't lean on the head, use the wall for a nice neck stretch, push your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for a long time, if you can manage for a few minutes.

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