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Neck Exercises Blog, A Guide to a Better Neck Posture

Hello and welcome to Neck Exercises. I am glad you want to take care of your neck. Whether you have neck pain, tension, stress or discomfort, neck exercises can help. Making small adjustments each day to include neck exercises, stretch exercises, or a neck workout, will gradually improve your neck health and quality of life. Let's get started!

Neck Exercises: Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) Stretch

Feeling tension in the front and side of your neck? Finding that your head is tilting a bit to the side? Just feeling tightness when turning to the side? The muscle that is responsible for the tightness would be the Sternocleidomastoid muscle or known as SCM.  In order to relieve neck tension in the front is to do the SCM neck exercises and stretches. 

Sternocleidomastoid is named for its attachments to the bones in the neck. The SCM muscle has two parts in the front attachment – on the top of the sternum and on the clavicle. The SCM muscle ends at the mastoid process behind your jaw bone. When SCM on both sides of the neck work together the movement is neck flexion or bringing your chin down towards your chest. When SCM is working on one side it brings your head towards the same side shoulder and rotates to the opposite side. 

Why do you want to perform neck exercises and stretches for the SCM? By stretching the SCM this neck exercise will help loosen the front and side of the neck. This will prevent any forward and tilted head from forming. By keeping the SCM flexible you will have greater neck range of motion. Another benefit of having the SCM muscle loose is that you avoid any compression on blood vessels or any nerves. 

To begin SCM neck exercises as a stretch, sit upright in a chair. Have your feet flat on the floor, your shoulders relaxed, your hands resting on your lap, look straight ahead and perform a chin tuck. This SCM neck exercise will be felt on one side at a time. You will start with the right side and then will switch to the left side for these neck exercises.

Take a breath in and bring your left ear towards your shoulder about 45 degrees be sure you are still looking forward. Now turn your head so that your nose is pointing towards the ceiling about a 45 degree angle. Your eyes should be focus up towards the ceiling. Breathe out and hold for 30 seconds. You should feel a stretch on the right front and side of the neck. You can bring your right hand down and reach towards the floor to get more of a stretch.  Slowly bring your head back to the starting position. Now reverse direction to stretch the left SCM. Repeat these neck exercises three times.

There should be no pain when you perform these SCM stretch neck exercises. You should feel a tolerable stretch. If you find you get dizzy, release a little bit on the stretch. If you find that the SCM stretch is too much, limit the amount of neck motion on both the side bending and rotation of the head. These SCM stretch neck exercises should relieve the neck tension and help improve your neck posture. 

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  • MB

    Great stretch. Thanks for getting this information out there. I think alot of people neck issues are in the scm muscle and most don't really know anything about it.

  • Miye

    Thanks for the input! I'll have to post more about the SCM in other posts to inform others.

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  • Matthew Luis

    Really grateful to you for sharing these tips, neck pain is a common issue, we work for a longtime sitting at a place which can trigger pain in our back and neck, i am sure by doing the above mentioned exercises we can get rid of it.

  • David Carl Harrer

    Injured my SCM years ago, through a Whiplash Injury. Exercises and Therapies and Injections and Massage and Chiropractic care. Progress is VERY VERY SLOW. This permanent injury has severely altered my life.

  • David Carl Harrer

    My neck, My ears, My Eustachian tube, Dysphagia and Aspiration. Cervical Spine Injury is a nightmare!