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Whatever the cause, jaw and neck pain can be painful and distracting. Taking time throughout the day to pause what you're doing (especially if you're looking at a screen) and engage in these seven stretches may begin to relieve some of that discomfort.

If the pain persists, seek out a doctor or physical therapist.

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Tongue Up
  1. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth. 
  2. Slowly open (as widely as you can) and close your mouth. 
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, and repeat 2 sets of 10. 

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Chin Tucks
  1. Start by sitting or standing with a straight back. 
  2. Stare straight forward and pull your head backward using the muscles in the front of your neck. 
  3. Keep your head level with the floor at all times, and avoid tilting it upward or downward. 
  4. Hold for 5 seconds; repeat 10 times or as many as needed. 

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Corner wall stretch
  1. Stand with a doorway about 1 to 2 feet in front of you. 
  2. Make a goal-post with the arms so your upper arms are parallel to the floor. 
  3. Place your forearms on either side of the doorway. 
  4. Step forward with one foot so that it's on the opposite side of the doorway. 
  5. Slowly shift weight onto the front foot until you feel a stretch in your chest. 
  6. Switch the weight-bearing foot.
  7. Repeat 3 times on each side. 

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Scalene cervical spine stretch
  1. Place your right arm behind your back. 
  2. Tilt your head upward and away from the right side until you feel a gentle stretch along the front and side of your neck. If you want a deeper stretch, place the left hand on top of your head and gently pull back.
  3. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Complete 3 reps on each side.

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Upper trap cervical spine stretch
  1. Retract your head into a chin-tuck position.
  2. Place your right hand behind your back. 
  3. Using the left arm, gently draw your head toward the opposite side.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Complete 3 reps on each side.

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Levator scap cervical spine stretch
  1. Place your right arm behind your back. 
  2. Use your left hand to draw your head downward and toward the left side. 
  3. You should be looking into your left armpit. 
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Complete 3 reps on each side.

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Lower jaw retraction/protraction
  1. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. 
  2. Glide your lower jaw out as far as it will go.
  3. Then glide it back in as far as it will go. 
  4. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds in each position, and repeat 2 sets of 10 reps. 

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Aches and pains

With the 2020 pandemic, many people are required to stay home.

If you're one of these people, you may be noticing new aches and pains you did not experience at the office.

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How we're sitting

The childhood advice of sitting up straight, shoulders back, is incorrect.

Sitting this way takes effort. We end up arching our backs by tensing up our muscles. When we tighten them, we shorten them, and that arches the back, loads the discs in the lower back, and pushes the edges of the vertebrae against each other. Over time, that could alter our anatomy.

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5 Morning Stretching Exercises

Stretching in the morning is a great way to "awaken" your muscles and get them ready for the day. Stretching loosens up your body while increasing blood flow to your muscles.

Incorporating morning stretches into your daily routine is a positive way to begin each day.

Learn an easy and effective morning stretch exercise program.

Before starting this, or any other exercise program, check with your doctor to ensure that exercise is safe for you to do. Stop any exercise that causes pain.

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