Stretching not only feels good but will have lasting results. We've learned that doing dynamic stretching is good before a work-out and sustained stretching is good post work-out. You may not specifically work the neck but your neck gets hit doing many other muscle groups. Some weight lifters do a neck routine but that's subject for another blog.
The bottom line is that we want to stretch before to loosen up and increase mobility and after to lengthen the muscle and maintain mobility. You see, when a muscle gets shortened and tightened it will cause an imbalance. Not only that, it can cause misalignments. Let's just take the trapezius muscle for example. If it get imbalanced from side to side, it will cause the spine to shift. That vertebral shift means pressure to a nerve or nerves, and that can spell NECK PAIN, or maybe something worse. The nerves are the communication system for the body and relay pain responses but basically tell the body how to work.
Nerve fibers travel throughout muscle too! So you can imagine hoe an imbalance like a tightened, shortened muscle will put pressure on that area. Also remember two more things: 1) Those tight muscle can build up adhesions or knots easier, and 2) Inflammation more easily will accumulate here and has a more difficult time dissipating.
Those tight spots or knots we call trigger points. Theses nasty guys are responsible for a lot of problems and many therapies and treatments have be developed specifically to rid us of those adhesions. Inflammation is really at the heart of the issue and can be solely responsible for nerve pressure.
A couple things can be done to help with the stretching relief. One is muscle massage, another is using heat or ice to help mobilize and reduce that inflammation.
Heat in the morning will often also help to move and loosen the muscle. Ice tends to work better at the end of the day when inflammation is at it's greatest amount. Trigger point massage can also help do these things. Another point is to do that massage while stretching; you can even do a stretch, and muscle massage, all while taking a hot shower.
Keep in mind that if you are very stressed at work or maybe are on the computer all day, it can be a little like a work-out. So do some of those stretches before and after work!
1. The Neck Pain Relief Kit Ebook!