According to Spine, two out of three adults in the U.S. suffer from neck pain. As your neck is central to your entire body, everyday activities, let alone lifting weights, can be severely impacted. To help, see below to identify and solve your personal neck nightmare.

The Problem

You have a sharp pain in your neck that has begun to radiate up to your skull and down to your upper back. Now you’re feeling discomfort when sleeping and performing everyday tasks.

The Cause

Extending your eight- to 10-pound melon too far forward or too far back, over time, will cause immense strain to your neck, says Jason Brown, D.C., of Brown Integrated Chiropractic.

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The Fix

For one, avoid overextending your neck with bad habits like constant texting and slouching. Also, “pack” your neck—by making a double chin—when you perform loaded exercises.

Pack It Up

Packing your neck during exercises keeps your spine neutral, improving your posture and power output.

How to Do It: Neck Stretches

Directions: Perform the following stretches anytime during the day to target and strengthen the main neck supporters—that is, the levator scapulae and scalene muscles.

  1. Sit on one of your hands in a chair. Make yourself tall by puffing out your chest and be sure to look straight ahead, too.
  2. Place your free hand on top of your head. Gently pull it away from you, sideways, until you feel a stretch in your neck. Hold it for about 10 seconds.
  3. Now perform the same movement but pull your head back at a diagonal angle. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat both stretches on both sides.
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