Neck Exercises to help Neck Pain

Neck Exercising Is Easy To Do And Clinically Shown To Help Neck Pain Symptoms

A 2014 study in the journal Spine confirms previous findings using MRI imaging, that individuals suffering chronic neck pain can benefit from muscle conditioning or neck exercising. The study revealed atrophy or deconditioning of several neck muscles in those individuals suffering from general as well as injury related neck pain.

The ongoing scientific evidence indicating the benefits of neck exercising and is the reason why they are a commonly used method of treatment in the management of patients suffering neck pain symptoms. Although many individuals will benefit from a few specific exercises, since most general neck problems are due to postural issues, a typical therapeutic approach may consist of stretching as well as strengthening and general exercises.

neck exercising

Long standing chronic or neck pain that recurs can have a significant impact on performing work and daily activities. Neck problems most often consist of tight muscles and stiff joints, but may include related headaches, pain between shoulder blades, shoulder and upper back pain.

Neck exercises to help these symptoms consist of one or all of the following types of active motion therapies to restore the original muscle length-tension relationships, restore normal joint mobility, and restore normal body balance:

Neck Stretches

Stretching exercises promote flexibility and can increase a healthy range of motion in relation to the head and shoulders. They can help lengthen muscles and lubricate neck joints, which can be effective in the relief of a painful stiff neck. Generally, neck stretches can be done on a daily basis and are most effective when performed several times throughout the day.

Neck Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening weak neck muscles can help restore normal posture, helping to ease pain flare-ups and increase endurance to help prevent the pain from returning. When doing neck strengthening exercises, most should be performed with a day’s rest between, allowing for muscle recovery.

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General Aerobic Exercises

Often, one does not think of this type of exercising for neck pain, however, aerobic conditioning increases the flow of blood to neck, upper back and shoulder muscles, which can help with motion range as well as alleviate muscle stiffness. Additionally, increasing oxygen and blood flow during aerobic exercising promotes the release of the body’s own pain relief chemicals called endorphins. This aerobic conditioning also helps reduce stress, which helps with neck and shoulder pain relief.

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Aerobic exercises may be done daily for at least 30 minutes. This can be as simple as walking, or by using exercise equipment like treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines, and other well designed exercise aids.

Controlling Pain With Neck Exercising

Often, it is important to get neck pain symptoms managed prior to beginning an exercise program. Gradually performed stretches can help reduce pain and promote healing, along with methods using heat therapy, ice applications, massage tools, soothing pillows for improved rest, over the counter pain relief medications, postural modification, supports when indicated and judicious use of cervical spine traction. These approaches can help alleviate neck pain over time, with the goal of increasing one’s ability to use exercises for relief and prevention. Lack of response to these forms of home treatment may indicate the necessity for professional help.

Help With Neck Exercising

Most exercises are fairly simple. Many will instinctively recognize exercises that are beneficial for them. A home program does not have to be complex. A few stretches and specific strengthening as well as aerobic exercises is enough, however, consulting your health care professional prior to any exercise program is recommended. Additionally, health professionals like Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, or Physiatrists that are trained in these exercises can help you do them correctly and choose the best ones for your condition. A general rule is that stretching and exercising should not increase the pain. Mild muscle soreness can be expected, but no increase in symptoms.

Neck pain is a common complaint and ranks only second to back pain for problems with the muscular-skeletal system. In a given year, 30 to 50 percent of the work force population will experience neck pain. Even though most neck problems are short lasting, about 30% of patients suffering neck pain will have long term problems lasting over 6 months, developing chronic symptoms that become difficult to diagnose and treat. This contributes to significant costs in health care and lost work productivity. Therefore, having simple, effective ways to deal with neck pain, like those promoted at Neck Solutions can help, and we spend a lot of time on exercises.

Motivation For Neck Exercising

Neck exercises can not only benefit neck pain, but are good for healthy necks also. Incorporating regular stretching, strengthening and cardiovascular exercises can help with both relief and prevention of neck pain conditions, also benefiting the body as a whole, especially with high rates of sitting at computers, desks and driving. Exercising provides a key element in reducing future costs and incidents of neck pain.

Your neck has a very important job to perform everyday. It has to hold up your head, which weighs as much as a large bowling ball. Imagine holding up a bowling ball everyday, all day! This is what your neck does. Most people have less than good posture, especially at the end of a long day, so the head slowly drifts forward from the neck. Hold a bowling ball in close to your body, then try holding out from your body – it gets heavier and harder to hold up. As the head drifts forward, your neck muscles have to work harder, causing stress on the muscles, joints, ligaments and discs. These are pain producing structures of the neck, which have to wok together to provide both firm stability and smooth motion.

Having a program to include a good combination of neck exercises and stretches helps keep your head over your shoulders using minimal strain of gravity on sensitive structures, helps strengthen muscles to prevent little injuries which, over time, can lead to degenerative neck conditions as well as bulging or herniated discs, which may require the use of prescription medications with their negative side effects or even surgery.

It can be just a couple of neck stretches to start, taking only 5 minutes. Gradually working up to more. Some neck exercising are so simple to do that nobody will even notice you are doing them. Even this, studies show, can help with a pain in the neck.

Author Bio

Stephen Ornstein, D.C. has treated thousands of neck, shoulder and back conditions since graduating Sherman Chiropractic College in 1987 and during his involvement in Martial Arts. He holds certifications as a Peer Review Consultant from New York Chiropractic College, Physiological Therapeutics from National Chiropractic College, Modic Antibiotic Spinal Therapy from Dr. Hanne Albert, PT., MPH., Ph.D., Myofascial Release Techniques from Logan Chiropractic College, and learned Active Release Technique from the founder, P. Michael Leahy, DC, ART, CCSP.