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“What a pain in the neck!” is a common phrase we all use when something (or someone!) is a real bother. But literal neck pain can be a sign of stress.

Of course, if you have neck pain that doesn’t go away or limits your motion, you should talk with your doctor. But minor neck pain can often be relieved just by regularly doing some stretching. 

I know we are all really busy and don’t have much time, but here are a few stretches you can do quickly and easily–in the car waiting at a red light, or waiting in line at the store, or while you’re in your tractor.  They are from the National Institutes of Health, and are fast and simple. To see even more stretches and exercises, check out their web site.

Try these stretches for a week, and see how they help you relax, so stress will be less of a pain in your neck!

Side Bend Neck Stretch

  • Tilt head to one side (ear towards shoulder)
  • Hold for15 seconds
  • Relax
  • Repeat 3 times on each side

    Diagonal Neck Stretch

    • Turn head slightly and then look down as if looking in your pocket
    • Hold for 15 seconds
    • Relax
    • Repeat 3 times on each side

        Executive Stretch

        • While sitting, lock hands behind head
        • bring elbows back as far as possible
        • Inhale deeply while leaning back and stretching
        • Hold for 20 seconds
        • Exhale and relax
        • Repeat 1 time
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