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05 April 2009

Neck muscle exercise

Exercise Sterno-Cleido-Mastoid (SCM):

Simply turn your head as far to one side as possible. Only to the point where you feel the muscles pulling or minor discomfort. Do not turn to the point of pain. Place your hands over your head to stabilize it and then try to turn back to the center. Your hands are stopping you turning your head. The resistance should only be about a 20% increase – not a forcible turning motion. Hold this tension for 6 seconds only – one thousand, two thousand, three …

Rest your hands and turn your head back to the midline. Take a deep breath in and out and relax. Then repeat this so you perform it three times each side.

Please note: the twisting motion is gentle, your hands are stopping you turning your head – this should not cause pain. If it does then use less force. You should be able to turn your head further to the side after this exercise.

Exercise for Upper Trapezius and Levator Scapulae:

To stretch these, repeat the procedure above, however you are leaning your head to the side and again use your hands to resist the movement back to the center. Hold the tension for 6 seconds, relax and take a deep breath. Repeat each side three times.

Exercise for Neck Extensors:

Again repeat the same procedure, except try to bring your chin to your chest. Place hand on the back of the head and try to resist pulling back. Hold for 6 seconds, take a deep breath when you return to the midline.

Please note:
do not perform this exercise leaning your head back. This is a very unstable position for the neck and will aggravate most neck conditions. The muscles that perform this movement will relax with the combine approach of the above procedures.

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