The content below is not meant to replace assessments and diagnoses from trained medical professionals. The content being shared is a visual resource that compliments custom home programs created by certified athletic therapist, Melissa Deonaraine CAT(C), for patients whom she has physically assessed and treated in clinic. Always check with your medical provider before trying content found on the internet is safe for you to try.
Head & Neck
Simple Neck Stretches
Here are three stretches for your neck that will target your scalenes, levator scapulae, and trapezius. Only move your head within ranges you feel comfortable moving.
If this stretch starts to hurt, try resetting your body positioning. If that still didn't help then best to stay away from these stretches for the time being and perhaps return at a later time if you feel these stretches would be beneficial.
This is an upgrade if you've been using two tennis balls inside a crew sock to target those ever so tight occipital muscles found at the base of your skull.
I use the Theraband Flexbar or Logest Exercise Bar brands to do this muscle release. Body positioning is key but once you find the sweat spot, it's a doozy!
P.s. You can maximize your time by using the trigger point floor technique down below on this page.
Lion Yawn Jaw Stretch
This is a weird but helpful stretch for your jaw. Try it out if you don't believe it. Just make sure to sit up tall and/or have your head resting against the floor or a wall to provide support especially if you have poor posture with your head and neck poking forward.
This is something you could do while stuck in traffic, maybe face straight ahead so no one thinks that you're making faces at them?
Eye Quadrant Stretching
Try this stretch if you're feeling strain in your eyes.
This may also be helpful with headaches so use caution trying this stretch. If head or eye pain worsens, please stop. Follow up with your medical provider if anything worsens.
Median Nerve Stretches
Not only is this an effective neck stretch, it also stretches your entire upper extremity which includes hand, finger, thumb, wrist, forearm, arm and shoulder.
Nerve stretches feel uncomfortable but they work really well. Depending on where you're experiencing tightness, two people performing this stretch may feel pain relief in different areas.
Note: Sensation of reduced tension may change location each repetition.
Ulnar Nerve Teapot Stretch
Ever bump your funny bone by accident? If so, then you've found your ulnar nerve that wraps around the elbow before heading to your hand and fingers.
Other versions of this stretch can be awkward raising your arm above your head. I found that this positioning was easy to setup plus you could do this stretch while at your desk or workstation. Start off slow because this stretch will feel intense.
Stretching your nerves has a completely different sensation from stretching your muscles. Once you understand it's not a bad thing and that it's increasing mobility and decreasing tension, you won't mind it. Make sure if you're doing this while walking outside that you don't end up clotheslining anyone trying to pass by you.
Rolling Stick for Self-Massage
Rolling sticks are helpful with body care whether it's with for injury recovery or maintenance. This device can be used actively by an individual or passively with the athletic therapist using the stick to prep the area before treatment.
Not all rolling sticks are created equal. My preference is the Intracell Rolling Stick because it has different firmness depending on your body type and activity, individual rollers with a flexible bar makes contact with more surface area that's comfortable.
Nerve Flossing Combo
This is a doozy so hold off trying this stretch until you've mastered the other nerve flossing stretches. It's a lot of coordination to move while maintaining a proper posture to feel the stretch.
There are lots of therapy tools you can use to get pain relief. Trigger point balls are helpful but can be intense depending on how much pain you're currently experiencing.
Focus on your breathing to help you get through intense moments using a trigger point ball. The type of ball you use can also affect the outcome (i.e.. lacrosse ball may can cause bruising from being too firm).
There's no need to roll around with the ball. Let your body relax and stay still so the trigger point technique can be effective.