If you’re experiencing tension and tightness in your head, neck and shoulders, there are a few quick stretching exercises you can do that will make you feel much better. That’s what we’ll talk about in today’s Five Minute Feel Better.

Most people carry tension and stress in their neck and shoulders. Tension headaches are part physiological. The more loose and relaxed we can be, the better.

Part of being more relaxed is to allow yourself to take care of yourself. Listen to your body. If your neck, shoulder, and head are tense, you can quickly improve your feeling and mood with these few stretches.

Stretch 1: Thumbs Up

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Arms out straight or slightly behind you with thumbs up to give you a focus point. (Don’t move your shoulders during this move.)

Maximal non-painful rotation 2-3 second cadence to each side for 5-10 rotations.

Stretch 2

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Grab your wrist behind your back and lean your head forward in the opposite direction. Repeat on the other side. Hold for 5-15 seconds each time.

Stretch 3

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Hook under the base of the skull with your hand and assist rotation 5-15 seconds each side.

This should be done to maximal stretch. Discomfort is fine, pain isn’t.

Stretch 4

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Lateral stretch: Look to your side as in the Thumbs Up stretch but this time use your hand to assist you in getting a further stretch. Hold for 5-15 seconds on each side.

Stretch 5

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Forward flexion: Let gravity do most of the work. Don’t force it. Notice that I’m holding onto my neck, not my head. Hold 10-20 seconds.

Stretch 6

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Anterior neck: 5-15 seconds each side.

Tips

When you’re going through your stretching routine. Sit down. Sit on one hand. This will keep your shoulder still helping you to stretch better. Remember to hold each stretch for 5-15 seconds.

While stretching you may notice some areas that are tighter and require more time to stretch properly. This is a good thing. This is likely the source of your tension. By working stretches to lengthen the muscle, you’ll find relief almost immediately.