Easiest Way To Reduce NECK STIFFNESS With A TOWEL

Have you ever woken up in the morning having a lot of stiffness in your neck and feeling extremely painful that limits you from turning or moving your neck?

That is a very common situation that most of us deal with. And it’s also a very common condition that you might encounter at some point. 

With that said, I will give you some simple exercise that you can do using a towel. Do these whenever your neck feels very stiff, especially in the morning, to make your neck move better.

1. Work on improving the rotation.

Rotation is usually the most limited movement that can happen, the way to do that is to:

  • Hold the longer side of the towel behind your neck;
  • Pull one side up towards your eyeball;
  • Pull the opposite side down along your shoulder while you are maintaining the pole ride; 
  • To support it neck, turn to the shorter side and come back. 
  • Pull and rotate your head towards the shoulder side, and then come back;

We have multiple segments of the spine of the neck, you can totally move the tower to different levels.

  • Make sure you have the firm pole, pull down against the shoulder and along your eyeball.
  • The tricky thing for this is you have to make sure the eye by the hand is constantly pulling the tower along your face and along your eyeball. 
  • Then do the same thing on the other side while pulling towards the shoulder to anchor and stabilize everything.
  • Make sure the hand is following your movement. Also, do a pure rotation, there shouldn’t be a tilting or bending happening.
  • It should rotate along the axis of your spine. There is a line connected to the top of your head into the ceiling all the time. 
  • So, make sure you have a very long spine, a very firm grip to pull up the towel. Do this 15-20 reps on each side and don't push through the painful range.
  • Stay within the pain free range. And remember, repetition is key. 

2. Work on looking up. 

It's a very functional thing to do to have a better vision and gaze to see the environment around us. But then it's also a position that can narrow the joints in our cervical spine.

With this exercise, use a towel to support and facilitate a range of motion in a comfortable way. The way to do this is very similar to the previous one:

  • Pull the towel from both sides, towards your eye. 
  • Look up to the ceiling and come back to make sure the towel is following your eyeball and your move around the fall range.
  • You can change into different levels on your cervical spine and neck. You can move the towel to a different level to get through the whole range.
  • Again, make sure the exercise stays within the pain free range and don't push beyond your tolerance, 15 to 20 repetitions is a very gentle way to get your neck moving. 

These are two very easy exercises to do. But these are very generic exercises that may or may not be specific to your condition.

If you would like to know about what's actually happening to your neck, or maybe related to an injury or to a very specific cause, definitely go to a physical therapy. Evaluation is required to further dive into the condition.

I'm Dr. Andy Tseng, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist and a Pilates instructor as well at CORE. I along with our team of other Pilates instructors will be more than happy to help you…

Call 512.215.4227 for more information.

Have a great day.

Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist at CORE Therapy and Pilates
Andy is passionate about providing a holistic approach to help people in Austin stay active and fit. He has a special interest in helping musicians perform more freely and comfortably. To better serve his patients, he acquired his manual therapy certification (MTC) through USAHS in 2018, and he is in the process of becoming a certified hand therapist. He also completed his Comprehensive Pilates and pre-/post-natal training through Core Pilates NYC, and became a certified classical Pilates instructor in 2019.