There is nothing like waking up with a tight neck. The sternocleidomastoid stretch will help to reduce some of the tension when this happens. Neck pain and stiffness always seem to come at the worst times. This is because the neck serves an essential function in the body. The neck links the rest of the body to the head. The neck is also the reason why you can move your head in multiple planes and directions.
Now, imagine a situation where you are not able to rotate your head as much as you’d like to because of stiffness or pain that you feel in the neck. That stiffness could be as a result of your sternocleidomastoid muscle being sore from overuse. A lot of people that had it have complained about how bothersome and embarrassing it can be.
Most especially if you are an athlete, you need to constantly rotate your head because it enables you to be aware of what is happening in the game.
Sternocleidomastoid stretch is an exercise method that has been devised to help you with any form of neck pain or stiffness you may be feeling.
What Is The Sternocleidomastoid Muscle?
If you put your hands by the sides of your neck, there is a good chance that you are touching either of the sternocleidomastoid muscles in your neck.
The sternocleidomastoid is the muscle responsible for helping you move your neck sideways. It is also a very important muscle in respiration.
What Is A Sternocleidomastoid Stretch?
A sternocleidomastoid stretch as the name implies is merely an exercise that involves stretching both of your sternocleidomastoid muscles. It is beneficial for people who have neck pain or stiffness due to the sternocleidomastoid muscle. The exercises can also be prescribed by a physical therapist to aid your recovery if you had an injury around your neck region.
The goal with stretching is never pain. If you feel pain it is time to stop the stretch. The goal with stretching is to get the muscle to relax and lengthen. When a muscle is no longer tight, it can move through its full range of motion with ease.
- Classic Sternocleidomastoid Stretch
- Use hand to pull the head to one side and slightly back
- Much more of a trap stretch
- The trap and other areas of the neck affect the Sternocleidomastoid
- Do not do this stretch if you have back pain
- The purpose is to stretch the entire front side of the body from the quads to the neck
What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Needing a Sternocleidomastoid Stretch?
If you notice the following signs and symptoms around your neck, a sternocleidomastoid stretch may be helpful to you:
- If you feel dull aches and pains in your neck
- Sharp pain around your neck region
- Feeling of stiffness in your neck
- If you notice that there is a reduced range of movement for your neck, then a sternocleidomastoid muscle stretch can be quite useful
- If you feel a kind of pain known as ‘referred’ pain in your shoulder, chin or jaw it could be due to a problem with your sternocleidomastoid muscle and a sternocleidomastoid stretch may help.
How To Perform A Sternocleidomastoid Stretch
- Sit on a chair with your back straight, your shoulders relaxed and your head looking forward.
- Make sure that your shoulders are situated away from your ears. This is important to prevent injury to your ears and to ensure that your neck can stretch properly.
- Turn your face towards one of your shoulders, do this for a few moments then slowly lift your face up while your chin is above your shoulder.
- Also, hold it for several moments then return your face to the front.
- You can do this for about five sets.
- You can also lower your chin as if you are looking at the center of your chest, look down as low as you can without feeling pain then rotate your face slowly towards the other shoulder. Hold it for like 20 seconds then rotate your face to the other shoulder again.
- You can do this for about three sets to get the most out of the Sternocleidomastoid Stretch
Contact Kho Health
Kho Health is the best place to start your search for a healthcare provider for a to help with the Sternocleidomastoid Stretch. Kho Health lets you search for providers by type and skill. You can look for a massage therapist that also knows fascial stretching and find the best local options.
If you are unsure where to start your journey, Kho Health will ask you questions and help you figure out the best starting place. The platform makes it easy to compare health providers as they are all given a Kho Number.