Do you suffer from chronic neck pain? Do you have these symptoms?
- limited range of motion of the neck
- tingling or numbness down the arms
It’s not unusual for people to start developing neck problems especially if they work at a computer all day.
Just like any other muscle in the body, the muscles of the neck also need to be conditioned in order to keep and improve range of motion and to keep pain away. After long hours in front of a computer, heavy weight lifting at the gym or at work, or sudden trauma, it is important to stretch and exercise our necks.
The following stretches and exercises have proved to be helpful in individuals with chronic neck pain:
Note: Each stretch and exercise should be performed to patient tolerance and not to the level of feeling pain.
1) Corner Stretch:
The individual is instructed to face towards a corner, feet together, and forearms placed against the wall. They are to lean in as far as possible until a stretch is felt in front of the shoulders and chest. They are to hold this stretch for approximately 30 seconds-1 minute. This is to be done 3-5X/ day as needed (click here for more informaton on corner stretches.)
2) Chin Tuck- Neck Retraction
The individual is instructed to push their chin straight back and hold for 10-15 seconds. This exercise can be done several times easily throughout the day at work, driving, etc. This is to be done in 5 rep increments at first, then the individual may slowly increase to 10 reps per session. Approximately 5-10 sessions per day can be done as needed (click here for more information on chin tuck and neck retraction exercises.)
3) Ear to Shoulder Stretch
The individual attempts to touch their left ear to their left shoulder and the stretch will be felt on the right side. Patient then attempts to touch their right ear to their right shoulder and the stretch will be felt on the left side. The opposite arm is suggested to be put towards their lower back to drop the shoulder and further deepen the stretch. They will hold the stretch for 20 seconds and is to be done as needed throughout the day approximately 5 reps per session, 3-5 sessions per day. The patient can do this exercise throughout the day at work or at home (click here for more information on the ear to shoulder stretch.)
4) Flexion Stretch-Chin to Chest
The individual is instructed to bring their chin to their chest until a stretch is felt in the back of their neck. Stretch is held for 10-15 seconds for about 10 reps as needed throughout the day, approximately 3-5 sessions per day (click here for more information on the flexion stretch.)
5) Isometric Neck Strengthening
The individual is instructed to start in neutral, straight position. They will use their own hand to provide resistance in all ranges of motion (about 10% of their own strength). This is to strengthen the deep neck flexors and improve posture. This is another exercise that can be done several times throughout the day 5-10 reps at a time in all directions, approximately 5 sessions per day (click here for more information on isometric neck strengthening.)
6) Scapular Retraction
The individual is instructed to sit holding the resistance band in a relaxed position in front of them. Using, the back muscles, they are instructed to firmly pull both shoulder blades together backward and downward for 10 seconds per rep: 5 reps per session 2X per day (click here for more information on scapular retraction.
A case study conducted in the United Kingdom showed the effectiveness of exercises on neck pain concluded that “strengthening and endurance exercises for the cervio-scapultothoracic and shoulder regions can be beneficial in reducing pain and improving function”.
Along with these exercises, individuals can make sure to take preventative measures in their everyday routine. For example, for those who sit at their jobs for long periods of time should try to make sure to get up and walk around every hour or two for a few minutes to stretch.
Also, make sure to adjust your desk chairs to the proper height so that the hips are slightly higher than your knees.
When reading or typing from other materials, make sure to raise the book or page to eye level instead of looking downwards at the table. When traveling for long periods, take a small pillow or rolled up towel and place it between the neck and the headrest to help support the neck’s natural curve.
Even when individuals are at home or running daily errands, it is important to not to cradle the phone between the head and shoulder and to make sure you are not sleeping with pillows that are too thick and not to have too many pillows under your head.
It is important to address neck pain right away to prevent it from becoming a chronic injury. The exercises shown above are initial stretches and exercises given to help reduce existing neck pain and preventing further symptoms. These are easy changes to make throughout your everyday lives to keep optimum health of the neck joints and muscles.
Many individuals also sit for long periods and neglect their posture and own health due to stress and busy lifestyles. Although, there are several sources of neck pain, there are small changes that each individual can make to prevent furthering the causes.
The contents and information on this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material is for informational purposes only. The content and information is not intended to be a substitute for a professional chiropractic examination, diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified chiropractor or other health provider. Never disregard professional chiropractic advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on any website including this one. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. Gilmore Chiropractic does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, doctors, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on this website or linked to this website. The best thing to do is contact us and arrange to meet with Dr. Gilmore to discuss your particular circumstances and situation.