For neck pain sufferers, the pain can be excruciating and interruption within your daily life. By seeing one of our Upper Cervical Chiropractors, we can focus on those areas of pain and discomfort while monitoring the rest of your spine. While the neck is the area of expertise for Upper Cervical Chiropractors, managing your pain and maintaining your alignment between visits is the best compliment to your upper cervical treatment. Neck stretches and strengthening exercises can be a promising way keep your pain under control, help you to eventually maintain your corrections on your own and it will allow some relief to any discomfort you may feel between corrections.
Below are a list of a few popular neck stretches, and how to complete them. You should perform these stretches a few times daily.
Corner Neck Stretch
This stretch will actually work the chest and upper back muscles, which in turn can help to relieve neck pain. Avoid this stretch if you have ever dislocated your shoulder or have any rotator cuff problems as the position of your arms against the wall can intensify those symptoms.
- Facing into a corner of the room, stand approximately two feet from the corner and place your forearms on each wall (palms flat on the wall with elbows about shoulder height).
- You can adjust the height of your forearms for different intensities in this stretch.
- Your feet should be together. Lean forward, as far as you can while without causing discomfort.
- Hold the pose for approximately 30 seconds.
- Complete this process several times a day to relieve pressure.
Levator Scapula Stretch
The Levator Scapula is a muscle that can become tight and tender where its attached to the shoulder blade. Stretching this muscle can immediately provide relief for a stiff neck.
- You can do this stretch while sitting or standing.
- Place your hand behind you and tilt your head at a 45 degree angle.
- Pull your head down with your other arm, towards your waist, without bending over.
- While pulling, resist with your head against your hand.
- Hold for 30 seconds to one minute, and repeat as needed to each side of the neck.
NECK STRENGTHENING TECHNIQUES
You should never complete neck strengthening exercises without first completing a few neck stretches.
Chin Tuck Exercise
Chin tuck strengthening can be done almost anywhere, sitting, standing or laying down.
- Starting out, try it standing against a wall in order to conquer the maneuver. This exercise can also help to improve posture as well.
- Stand with your spine against the wall. Pull your back and head back until it is against the wall completely. Your chin should be down and your head should be pulled straight back so that you are not looking upwards.
- Hold for 5 seconds, and repeat 7 to 10 times.
- Practice several times per day.
- After getting the maneuver down, start practicing at your desk at work, on the edge of the bed, or in a dining room chair.
Back Burn Exercise
- Complete this exercise by assuming the same stance as with the chin tuck exercise; with the back of your head against the wall.
- Flatten your lower back against the wall and put your arms against the wall, around shoulder height (like a “T”).
- Keep your back, head, arms, and hands all touching the wall as best as possible and slowly slide your hands against the wall to above your head, making a “V”, then slowly move them back down to the “T” position.
- Repeat 10 times and several times throughout the day.