The neck is that part of the anatomy which distinguishes the head from the rest of the body across species. Since human beings stand erect, the neck has evolved into a structure that is strong enough to support the weight of the head. Yet, it is flexible enough to twist, turn, tilt and rotate the head, giving us humans an evolutionary edge for survival and sustenance over other mammals. The neck, a conduit through which the nerves and blood vessels meet the brain, is also a passageway for the trachea and the gastrointestinal tract which intakes air and food respectively into the body. All this is made possible by strong muscles that not only latch the bones of the neck to the skull and shoulders, but also provide protection to the vital structures in the area. The neck muscles are the workhorses of the human body and when they get weak, painful and stiff, you know that you have really pushed their limits. Using good pillows, neck strengthening exercises and cultivating a good posture are a few steps that provide the right care for your neck. The following postures can alleviate pain and prevent a whole host of issues like cervical spondylosis, pinched nerves and pain caused by weak muscles from cropping up.

Head and Neck Circles

Sit with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.

Bring your head forward and keep your eyes open so that you don’t feel dizzy. Rotate your head to the right and slowly move it backward, on to the left and back to the center. This is one round, do at least 5 in each direction. Inhale as your head moves backward and exhale as you return Caution: Those with cervical issues should rotate the head in semi-circles without bending the head forward.

Controlled Forward Hunch

Sit straight with your chin parallel to the floor.

Raise your arms up to shoulder level, lock your fingers and rotate your wrists so that the palms face outward.

As you exhale, tilt your head down and create a hunch in your upper back while you push your arms forward.

Push till you feel a light stretch between your shoulder blades. Breathe normally and hold the stretch for 10 counts.