The final week of June brings us to the Prone (face down) Neck Stretch. It will stretch the muscles in the sides and back of the neck, as well as the chest muscles.
Please skip this week or consult your doctor before performing if you have trouble getting up and down from the floor, if you have had prior neck surgery, or other neck or shoulder injuries. Also, if you experience an increase in symptoms or have any new symptoms, including but not limited to pain, lightheadedness or numbness or tingling in the shoulders, arms or hands, discontinue the stretch and consult with your doctor.
How to perform:
- Lay face down on the floor with your arms slightly away from your body, and your palms up to the sky. Have your forehead rest on the floor as shown in photo 1. If resting face down directly on the floor is uncomfortable, you can place a mat on the floor or use a small towel roll under your forehead. You can also place a pillow under your stomach and hips to decrease any discomfort you may feel in the low back.
- Interlace your hands behind the low back. Straighten your arms as best you can, reaching hands toward the heels as shown in photo 2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to stretch the chest muscles.
- Keeping your hands interlaced, slowly take them over to the left hip as shown in photo 3. Point your left elbow directly up to the sky. The forearm of your right arm will just slide along the low back region and then over to the left hip as far as possible. Squeeze your shoulder blades toward one another so that the chest stays open. Draw your belly button toward the spine to relieve any tension in the low back.
- Gently turn your head to the left to until you feel a stretch along the right side of your neck. You may feel the stretch in other places as well, that just means you are tight in that area. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Relax your arms back to the floor palm up, and turn your forehead back to the floor. Repeat on the other side.
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