Neck stretch to the side (upper trap stretch)

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  1. Sit in a firm chair, or stand up straight. Keep your shoulder down as you lean away from it. To help you remember to do this, start by relaxing your shoulders and lightly holding on to your thighs or your chair.
  2. Look straight ahead. Tilt your head toward one shoulder and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Relax and let the weight of your head stretch your muscles.
  3. Slowly return your head to the starting position.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times toward each shoulder.

If you would like a little added stretch, place your arm behind your back. Use the arm opposite of the direction you are tilting your head. For example, if you are tilting your head to the left, place your right arm behind your back.

You can also add more stretch by using one hand to pull your head toward your shoulder. For example, keeping your right shoulder down, lean your head to the left and use your left hand to gently and steadily pull your head toward your shoulder.

Current as of: August 21, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.