Trance. Dance. And a Sore Neck.

If you haven’t heard, trance artists like John O’Callaghan, Armin Van Buuren, Markus Schulz are coming to town! This month’s musical line up is looking quite promising and as the weather warms up, I’m sensing bigger and better shows.  With great beats and tantalizing vocals, it’s hard not to bob your head and move your body to the music. As the bass gets darker and harder, you find yourself rocking out and showing your love for the music.  You go to bed with a giant smile on your face because you’ve realized how amazing it was dancing with your friends to great music.  And then it happens... you wake up and you can’t move your neck.  It’s stiff, it’s sore and it feels like you’ve just worked your neck out.  (I know that some of you don’t wake up with this problem because you don’t even go to bed!)

Why does my neck get sore?

With constant retraction and protraction of the neck (sticking your neck in and out) as well as flexion and extension (bringing your head up and down), you are constantly stressing the muscles around your neck and shoulders. It’s like you’re doing a thousand sit ups for your neck that night.  On top of that - when adding in alcohol to the mix, which is a muscle relaxant, you'll be trying to control the movements of your neck with floppy muscles. At this point the joints of your neck are at risk of being pushed to its end range without proper control. All these factors culminate to a sore and stiff neck.  

So.. what should I do to prevent this? Well, it’s easy to say just dance with your legs and arms and not your neck, but that isn’t realistic.  If you wake up with a tight neck, gently stretch out your neck with the following exercises. *

In order for the stretches to be effective, you must follow these rules.

  • Stretches must not hurt, only a mild discomfort.
  • Stop if there is pain.
  • Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds and switch sides, do this twice

Bring your ear to shoulder (to stretch your trapezius muscle)

  • Place your hand on the top of your head for a gentle pull.

Bring your nose to your armpit (to stretch your levator scapula muscle)

  • Place your hand on the back of your head for a gentle pull
  • Place your other hand behind your head for a greater stretch

To the VTF (Vancouver Trance Family), save your neck and dance safely!



Jessie Wong, Physiotherapist from the Physio Room


As a disclaimer, if you have any neck conditions, have recently been in a car accident, experience dizziness (not from the alcohol), double vision, hard time talking or swallowing, please consult a medical professional before attempting these exercises. If your neck stiffness persists for more than 1-2 days, please seek professional help.

*The exercises provided on this website are for educational purposes only, and are not to be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, or course of action. Exercise is not without its risks, and this or any other exercise program may result in injury. They include but are not limited to: risk of injury, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, or adverse effect of over-exertion such as muscle strain, abnormal blood pressure, fainting, disorders of heartbeat, and very rare instances of heart attack.

To reduce the risk of injury, before beginning this or any exercise program, please consult a healthcare provider for appropriate exercise prescription and safety precautions. The exercise instruction and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical consultation. We disclaim any liability from and in connection with this program. As with any exercise program, if at any point during your workout you begin to feel faint, dizzy, or have physical discomfort, you should stop immediately and consult a physician.


Pictures: Markus Schulz in Vancouver 2011, Steve Krueger performing stretches