Whether your work or exercise time is putting a strain on your neck muscles, you will be happy to learn that there are some simple exercises that you can do to reduce your chronic neck pain while you are out running.

Here are some exercises you can do at home to improve your neck discomfort and strengthen the muscles of your neck and shoulder areas so you will be more comfortable running:

Health Warning: Before you start a new exercise program, you should always speak with your doctor or physical therapist to make sure that the exercises you will be doing are appropriate for your unique situation.

Exercise: Deep Breathing and Relaxing Neck Muscles

When you take short quick breaths as people often do when they are stressed out or busy, this contracts the muscles in your neck more than normal breathing should. This contributes to over-stressed neck muscles and thus stiffness and pain. To help with this type of muscle contraction, you need to practice doing some deep breathing exercises.

Sitting comfortably in a chair, close your eyes and take at least ten deep breaths while you are breathing in and out as deeply as possible. Place your hands on your stomach area and concentrate on making your diaphragm move up and down while at the same time relaxing your shoulders and neck. You can repeat this exercise as often as necessary.

Exercise: Arm Overhead Resistance Band Stretch

To stretch all of the muscles of your neck and shoulder areas, you can use an exercise resistance band. 

Place both of your hands on the resistance band and lift them over your head. Drop your chin to your chest while pulling outward on the resistance band with both hands. Relax the muscles in your shoulders and neck while performing this stretch. Close your eyes and practice taking a few deep breaths before you release the tension on the band.

Exercise: Lateral Shoulder Abduction

Finally, to help you build up the muscles of your neck and shoulder to help prevent future stiffness and pain, you can get an exercise resistance band and perform an exercise known as a lateral shoulder abduction.

To do this exercise, place the resistance band under your foot and lift your arm out to your side until your arm is parallel with the floor. Lift your arm as fast as your can for two minutes on each side. Repeat the exercise each day.

If your neck pain does not respond to these exercises, be sure to contact a sports physical therapist for treatment, so you can get back on the trails without pain.