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  • 5 min read


    Simple solutions to life's problems are amazing. Why? Because they are easy to do, wildly effective, and accessible to a broad portion of the population. We feel that the compass neck stretch is the best solution for most chronic neck pain conditions. These are good neck stretches that are so beautifully simple that we feel it should be the first thing you try for tight neck muscles. All it takes is a few minutes of your time.

    What's Causing Your Neck Pain?

    How many of us spend hours looking down at our phones? How many of us are sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen all day long? It takes muscles to hold our head in these various positions, and the only break they get is when we are lying down. We should understand that in order to get through the day, we need to use our neck muscles to orient our head. For most people, the pain comes from the daily work these neck muscles perform. Our bodies, constantly adapting to stress and overwork, will reduce range of motion and tighten up soft tissue to reduce potential damage and additional strain. The pain is a signal that something needs to be addressed.

    Who Can Do the Compass Neck Stretch?

    Fortunately, the compass neck stretch is free. It can be done by almost anyone with a neck and a head. Most people can benefit from this exercise as it does not require any equipment, only a comfortable place to sit. Even though this is a gentle stretch, we caution that those with underlying medical conditions, such as previous trauma, surgical hardware, anatomical deviations, etc., seek a doctor's advice before performing these exercises.

    Your Muscles Work Hard For You

    Your muscles are constantly working for you. They are the employees of your body. They work hard. They need proper guidance to tackle their job of controlled movement efficiently and correctly. They need breaks. And since you're not paying them, you must reward them in some other way to keep them happy. The reward can be to stretch your neck, massage it, and/or perform some other self-care that promotes both range of motion and blood circulation.

    Compass Neck Stretch - 4 Directions For Chronic Neck Pain Relief

    The Compass Neck Stretch Method

    The compass neck stretch is very gentle. It is the first of a series of neck stretches we will share that can help you regain mobility, flexibility, and eliminate neck pain. It targets upper neck muscles, lower neck muscles, the sides of the neck and back of the neck wonderfully well. The only things you will need are gravity and a comfortable place to sit. 

    5 Simple Steps

    1. Let's imagine that the top of the head is the arrow tip of the compass pointer. The four directions would be represented with north being where the top of the head is pointing directly in front.  Tilt the head EAST (to the right). The movement is done by first finding the neutral position of your head. The Then, tilt your head to the right with the neck still vertically oriented. Once the head itself is tilted as far as it can go with little to no pain, then engage the neck by leaning it to the right. The key here is that these are 2 separate movements to create the stretch. If you wish, you can look into a mirror to practice! Note that there is no rotation of the head. Your eyes should still be looking forward.
    Do not force your neck muscles to hold any of these positions. Gravity is your friend. Let the weight of your head control the amount of stretch. Do not lift your shoulder to meet your ear. Shoulders stay down and slightly back, in a relaxed position.
    Hold this position for 60 seconds. You may feel the stretch on the left side of the neck, trapezius, and top of shoulder. You may notice that as your neck muscles further relax, you can move deeper into the stretch. That's great! After 60 seconds, bring the head back to neutral position.

    2. Tilt the head WEST (to the left). Remember to tilt the head first, then lean the neck. It may help to visualize your ear moving closer to your shoulder. Hold this position for 60 seconds. You may feel the stretch on the right side of the neck, trapezius, and top of shoulder. After 60 seconds, bring the head back to neutral position.

    3. Tilt the head SOUTH (to the back) as if you are looking up at the clouds. This stretch can be painful for many, since it is not done nearly enough. We tend to look down at stuff more than we look up, right? To do the stretch correctly, try to imagine that your chin is lifting and getting closer to the sky. It will help to both elevate and extend the neck comfortably. 
    This stretch needs to be done slowly and, if necessary, the head can be supported on the back of a couch or office chair to limit the range of motion more safely. You may feel this stretch all around the entire neck as well as at the base of the neck. Hold the stretch for 60 seconds and return to neutral position. 

    4. Tilt the head NORTH (to the front) as if you are trying to touch the tip of your nose to the tips of your toes. This stretch hits the main muscles that keep your head from falling off when looking down at your phone. These muscles anchor to the top of your back, so you may feel the stretch anywhere from here up to the base of your skull. Hold the stretch for 60 seconds and return to neutral.

    5. Repeat steps 1-4 at least once more. That's a total of 8 minutes of time for an easy stretch. We recommend doing the entire 8 minute sequence at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, possibly just before bed.



    Most people will feel noticeable results in 7 days. Some chronic neck pain sufferers will feel relief within 1-3 days. Muscles respond to repetition, so consistency is vital to reset the pain signals and retrain the neck muscles. For general neck health, it's incredibly valuable to do these techniques daily. It's best to commit this sequence to memory as these are the best stretches for your neck. Eventually, you will see an increase in range of motion, flexibility, and ease of movement. 

    Some of the secondary effects of this stretch can be: reduced headache frequency, clearer sinuses, improved post-nasal drip drainage, better physical balance, and improved eyesight focus and lock. The neck is an important go-between for your brain and body to communicate, so you can imagine the important things that travel through it!

    The compass neck stretch is a powerful, natural solution for chronic neck pain. Will it work for everybody? Of course not. But, we're pretty sure this is the golden ticket to benefitting millions of people in a positive way.

    At Battle Balm, our goal is to help you get out of pain naturally. We encourage you to use Battle Balm with these techniques to improve your results while doing the compass neck stretch. If your health and wellness matter to you, choose the best all-natural products that you can buy. Choose Battle Balm.

    Our product recommendation for chronic neck pain is:



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