Studies suggest that up to as many as 70% of adults will suffer from neck pain that interferes with their life at some point. If you are one of these sufferers, you will understand why it can stop you from enjoying your days to their fullest. So, can you do anything to prevent more harm from coming to your neck and get back to your normal life as soon as possible?
This is where neck pain exercises come in. Alongside improving your posture and resting your neck muscles, they will return you to normal life faster than doing nothing.
While you will want to rest your neck as much as possible, it can often help to incorporate some basic stretches into your day. This helps exercise the muscles involved in moving your neck. This can help your body get back into shape while also training to prevent further damage.
If you find you start to feel pain while performing any of these exercises, stop immediately. You should only perform actions that do not make your situation worse.
Examples of exercises that can give you neck pain relief include the following:
Chin tuck: This is when you sit with your shoulders relaxed and your head facing forwards. You then move your chin down towards your chest while keeping your head in the same position.
Perform this exercise at a slow pace, holding the stretch for a few seconds before returning. You should also repeat it several times to get the most out of the movement.
Ear-to-shoulder: Starting with your head in a neutral position facing forward, move one ear down to touch a shoulder, keeping the other shoulder where it is. Go as far as you can before returning and trying the other ear, then repeat this movement several times.
Side-to-side: Rotate your head to the left until you start to feel resistance against your movement. Hold this stretch for several seconds before turning your head to the right and doing the same there.
Neck rolls: Start with the side-to-side movement above. Instead of returning after each stretch, roll your head down so your chin touches your chest. After that, continue the movement until your other ear is close to its shoulder.
Shoulder Blade Squeezes
These are exercises that target the muscles at the back of the neck, between the shoulder blades. Many of these extend into the neck or are generally associated with neck pain.
You can often find these muscles become hurt from having a bad posture or after car accidents. By exercising them, you can help make it less likely you will suffer further harm.
To perform a shoulder blade squeeze, first sit with relaxed shoulders and your arms draped at your sides. You should then pull your shoulders down and back. This will squeeze your shoulder blades together.
If you have not done this in a long time, you are likely to feel a lot of stretching or even some popping of ligaments. Unless you feel pain, though, continue to do this and hold it for a few seconds before returning to your original position. You should then do this several times to get a full set of stretches in.
These will help not only your neck but your shoulders too. These two areas are often associated with neck and back problems.
To perform shoulder rolls, first, sit with relaxed shoulders and arms. Then, lift your shoulders straight up towards your ears. You can also squeeze your shoulder blades together by moving the shoulders back and ensuring you are not lowering your head.
When your shoulders are elevated, move your shoulders backward, down, and then back to their original position. As you do this, you should stretch the muscles around the area.
Foam Roller Stretches
As opposed to the above exercises, this exercise will demand the use of a foam roller to put pressure on your muscles. While this is extra equipment, when using a foam roller, you can reduce the tension in your muscles. It can also improve your flexibility via self-massage techniques.
To use a foam roller, you must first put it on the ground somewhere there is plenty of space to lie down and allow the roller to rotate. You should then lie on it with the neck and shoulder muscles over the device.
You should then roll back and forth, allowing your body weight to apply pressure to the area lying on it. If you find any specific location is especially tight, make sure to spend a little longer in that area, allowing the pressure to massage that muscle. If you feel any sharp pain, though, you should stop and speak to a professional instead.
Remember to use the roller several times in a single sitting, and you may need to lean more on the part of the body on the roller as the muscle relaxes. This will help to get it from tight to fully relaxed.
Preventing Further Neck Pain
While relieving pain is very important, here are a couple of ways you can help prevent common issues.
Good Posture: Make sure you keep a good posture when working.
If you are doing manual labor, make sure to lift with your legs and keep your back straight. If you work from a sitting position, ensure your arms are rested comfortably, and your spine is not bent forward.
Using a Supportive Pillow: When sleeping, make sure you have a pillow that keeps your head in a neutral position. This might demand you use multiple pillows, have a limb under your head, or have a firmer pillow.
Need Help With Neck Pain Exercises?
With the neck pain exercises listed above, as well as the more general advice, you should have everything you need to start your path to improvement. Still, you might want to talk to a professional. This is what we are here for.
We have experts ready to talk to you and provide support for any sort of muscle pain you are suffering. We can discuss your options and let you know what your best course of action might be. So, give us a call, and we’ll take the first steps to help your neck improve today.