It’s the most beautiful wonderful time of the year, which means plenty of good vibes and traveling! Let’s be honest though, the trips give us so much joy in catching up with our family and friends, but also leave us with stiff necks and backaches. Well, we feel you there, and we’ve got your back…and neck! Here are ten stretches to help ease those niggling back and neck pains from your holiday travels. Save this post for later and extend the holiday cheer pain-free.
Back Pain Stretches
A few easy stretches can do wonders for those niggling discomforts that creep up after hours of travel. Now let’s get your back feeling as relaxed and comfortable as an old pair of slippers!
1. Cat-Cow Stretch
This is a great stretch to help you relax after sitting for a long time, making your spine more limber, which increases flexibility and releases stress.
- Starting from a position on all fours, place your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders.
- Arch your back upwards like a cat, tucking your chin into your chest and dragging your belly button into your spine.
- After that, slowly lower your belly to the ground, raise your head and tailbone, and let your back fall towards the floor.
- Keep repeating this flowing motion while coordinating it with your breathing, inhaling as you round and exhaling as you arch.
2. Seated Forward Bend
Your hamstrings and lower back will thank you for this stretch, especially after extended periods of sitting. It’s a great method to let go of stress.
- Take a seat on the floor with your legs out in front of you.
- Gently extend your hips and reach for your feet, ankles, or shins, whatever is most comfortable for you.
- Your upper body should softly fold over your legs as you relax your head and neck.
- As you maintain this posture, notice how your lower back and legs stretch.
3. Child’s Pose
Child’s Pose, well-known for its relaxing effects, is a great way to release tension in the shoulders and back.
- Place your big toes together while sitting back on your heels and kneeling on the ground.
- Lower your chest to the floor and extend your arms forwards.
- Lean your arms back and place your forehead on the ground.
- As you settle into the posture, take a deep breath and feel the stretch over your shoulders and back.
4. Standing Back Extension
This stretch helps to counteract the frequently assumed slumped position during travel. It facilitates chest opening and eases upper-back strain.
- Place your feet hip-width apart and stand tall.
- Straighten your arms and interlace your fingers behind your back.Or place hands on your hips.
- Pull your shoulder blades together and raise your chest gently towards the ceiling.
- As you maintain this posture, feel the stretch in your upper back and chest.
5. Supine Twist
The Supine Twist is an excellent stretch for releasing hip and spine tension and is great for easing lower back pain.
- With your feet flat on the ground and both knees bent, lie on your back.
- With your palms facing down, extend your arms out to the sides in a T shape. Or place your hands behind your head with your elbows bent.
- Maintaining your shoulders rooted, progressively drop both legs towards one side of your body.
- To feel a slight twist in your back, keep your eyes on the other side.
- Feel the stretch in your hips and lower back as you hold this position.
- Go back to the beginning and repeat the process on the opposite side.
Neck Pain Stretches
We understand how simple it is to lose yourself in the scenery, fall asleep while traveling, or kick back and laugh throughout the holiday season. But the aftereffects of these fun times can cause back and neck pain.
1. Neck Side Stretch
This stretch is a simple remedy for those tense neck muscles, offering immediate relief by gradually stretching the muscles on one side of the neck at a time.
- Maintain a straight spine while sitting or standing comfortably.
- Slowly tilt your head towards one shoulder until you feel a stretch on the other side of your neck.
- After a few seconds of holding the stretch, switch sides.
- As you perform this movement several times, let your neck muscles loosen up.
2. Chin Tucks
This stretch helps to improve posture by targeting the muscles at the front of the neck, which is ideal for counteracting the forwards head position caused by slouching or hunching.
- Take a comfortable stance or sit with proper posture.
- Without lowering your head downward, gently bring your chin up to your chest.
- You should feel a slight stretch at the back of your neck after holding this posture for a few seconds.
- To release tension, perform the motion many times.
3. Shoulder Rolls
As easy as it seems, this is an efficient method of relieving shoulder stress, which contributes to neck pain.
- When you stand or sit comfortably, let your shoulders drop.
- Start to move your shoulders backwards in large circles, trying to bring your shoulders up to your ears.
- Allow the muscles to relax by repeating this motion many times.
4. Scapular Squeeze
This exercise works the muscles that are located in between your shoulder blades, improving posture and releasing stress in the upper back and neck.
- Maintain a straight back and relaxed shoulders, whether sitting or standing tall.
- As though you were attempting to grasp a pencil between your shoulder blades, gently bring them together.
- Maintain this posture while tensing your shoulder blades for a few seconds.
- To strengthen the muscles in your upper back, relax and perform the exercise a few times.
5. Scalene Stretch
By focusing on the scalene muscles on the sides of the neck, the Scalene Stretch is an excellent method for releasing tension in the neck and shoulders.
- Maintain proper posture, whether sitting or standing, making sure your shoulders are relaxed.
- To get your ear closer to your shoulder, gently cock your head to one side.
- To deepen the stretch, use your hand on the same side to exert a little bit more pressure.
- Feel the stretch along the side of your neck as you hold the pose for however long is comfortable.
- To target the opposite side, swap sides and repeat the stretch.
What if those stretches just aren’t cutting it?
We’ve all been there—these stretches provide relief, but occasionally, that back or neck pain just won’t go away. This is a sign that you should consider expert assistance, which can significantly improve your comfort levels both during and after the holidays.
Although those simple stretches offer instant relief, lasting comfort may require the knowledge and skills of a physiotherapist or osteopath. These experts are trained at identifying the underlying cause of your discomfort and going deeper to comprehend any problems that those stretches might not be able to entirely resolve. Consider this your post-holiday gift to yourself—a lasting investment in your well-being.
Choosing Premier Sports and Spinal Medicine as your ally in health is like entering a world of individualised, first-rate care. We’ve helped over 35,000 patients throughout the years, and we’d love nothing more than to add you to our growing family of happy patients!
Our team of dedicated physiotherapists and osteopaths are ready to help you find and address the underlying reasons for your pain, rather than only treating the symptoms. Our method seeks to provide you with long-lasting comfort by fusing innovative techniques with evidence-based practises. We work together to match your specific needs, ranging from mobility techniques to personalised exercises and posture realignment procedures.
Let’s make your health our top priority as we begin 2024. Come start with us at Premier Sports and Spinal Medicine on a journey to a pain-free, refreshed self.