What Neck Exercises And Neck Stretches
You Should Do For Neck Pain Relief…
First, protect… rest… and ice your neck. If an activity causes a sharp pain in your neck, it’s a warning sign that you either need to STOP or MODIFY whatever it is that you’re doing. Also, rest your neck frequently throughout the day. When your neck hurts, use ice to reduce your neck pain and to decrease the inflammation.
Second, we need to correct spinal misalignments in your neck and in your upper back.
There is a natural process of aging called OSTEOARTHRITIS that none of us can avoid… but allowing spinal misalignments to persist may actually speed up your development of degenerative osteoarthritis.
Third, we need to return you to your pre-injury activities of daily living. How? By stretching and strengthening your injured neck muscles and ligaments… and enhancing your coordination and proprioception.
To STRETCH your injured neck muscles and ligaments, here’s a combo stretch that’s fast, efficient and easy to do.
WARNING: Before you do any of the following neck exercises… if you feel sharp pain in your neck while doing any of the exercises… STOP. This is a warning SIGN that you probably have spinal misalignments in your neck that need to be corrected.
Here’s the first neck exercise to do: bend your head to the right… while reaching over the left side of your head with your right hand… and gently pulling on your head until a good stretch is felt on the left side of your neck. Now reach down with your opposite hand (left hand)… as if there’s a dollar bill on the ground and you just can’t quite reach it.
While doing the above stretch, tuck in your chin… drop your head forward… and backward… and turn your head a little from side to side to gently stretch different tight muscle fibers. Continue this stretch for 5-10 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. This stretch can be done while sitting or while standing. Do this stretch multiple times a day, especially when your neck feels tight – like after doing computer work, for example.
Now, let’s STRENGTHEN your neck muscles.
Put one hand against the side of your head and push your head into your hand using about 10-20% maximum effort. First, let your head “win” by moving your head further until you feel a stretch in your neck… on the opposite side of your hand. Second, let your hand “win” by moving your head to the opposite direction… while your head maintains pressure against your hand. Let your head bend as far as it can. Repeat three times in each direction. Do the same for your other neck ranges of motion.
To enhance your coordination and proprioception, balance on one foot with your eyes open. Repeat with your eyes closed. Stand near a wall to avoid falling. Over time, gradually increase the amount of time that you’re balancing on one foot. This exercise is ABSOLUTELY important to do as we age to avoid falls.
Again, if you feel sharp pain in your neck while doing any of the above exercises, STOP what you’re doing. This is a WARNING SIGN that you probably have spinal misalignments in your neck that need to be corrected.
These spinal misalignments… if left uncorrected… will eventually create a GIANT pain in the neck for you… like a cavity that’s allowed to get much bigger and worse. If you feel sharp pain or abnormal muscle tightness in your neck or back while doing any of the exercises above, simply call us at (831) 475-8600 to schedule a treatment to correct the abnormal spinal misalignments in your neck.