Simple Neck Stretches to Improve Poor Posture
Gently stretching the muscles surrounding the cervical spine (our neck) can help to improve our posture.
The sternoclediomastoid muscle is the name of the muscle which runs from the sternum to the bony prominence behind your ear, which is called the mastoid process, hence the muscle’s name. To see this muscle in addition, watch someone turn their head to the side and you’ll see this muscle stick out noticeably. Massage therapists call this muscle SCM for short.
How Can Tight Neck Muscles Cause Poor Posture?
When the SCM muscle is tight it can actually cause someone to have their head held continually turned slightly to one side or to have their held pulled forward of the spine, giving a look of rounding in the upper back, a scrunched up neck and jutted out chin. It is also likely to cause some crunchy feelings when moving the neck as the tight neck muscles result in the vertebrae of the neck being jammed together. Some of our massage clients describe hearing what sounds like grains of sand in their neck!
Easing tightness in the neck can, when done in combination with other corrective strengthening exercises, help to alter the position of the head and alleviate feelings of restriction and associated pain.
How To Effectively Stretch Your Neck
To focus our stretch into the SCM muscle please follow the instructions below.
We always advise performing any stretching slowly and mindfully. Stretching should not hurt.
Turn your head to the side you want to stretch and then tip the head away and ever so slightly back. Do not crunch the spine, this is only a very small movement. You should end up looking slightly towards the ceiling.
Remember where the muscle runs; you want to be feeling the stretch down through the front of the neck on one side.
Go slowly and stop if there is any discomfort. Hold for 15 seconds and gently return to the start.
Tight Neck Muscles and Remedial Massage
Remedial massage therapists are skilled in massage techniques which can help stretch and loosen tight muscles which can cause pain.
Remedial massage therapists also have a sound knowledge of anatomy which can be desirable when working on the delicate structures of the neck.
Whilst we recommend simple neck stretches for you to do at home, going through your stretches with your massage therapist will ensure you have good technique to maximise the benefits.
Melbourne Natural Therapies
Simple Neck Stretches