Whatever the reason, you have a pain in your neck that is keeping you from moving your head without sharp discomfort. The neck is part of the cervical spine, and is a flexible region that needs to be protected and cared for. By stretching and strengthening your neck muscles you will protect the underlying vertebral bones and nerves.
Fortunately, you can do some exercises that can keep your neck muscles in prime condition. These exercises are often used to prevent neck pain, but working through them when you have pain in your neck can help to decrease the stiffness. When combined with ice, rest, and NSAIDs, these exercises can help you to feel your best again. If the pain persists for more than a few days, though, it might be a good idea to check with a doctor. You could have a herniated disc or whiplash that is undiagnosed. Only use these exercises for mild to moderate pain that lasts for one to two days.
This exercise is a great way to loosen up your neck and shoulder area. Often, when you have pain in your neck, it causes you to tense your shoulders to compensate. To perform this stretch, allow your arms to relax down at your sides and keep your head upright. Gently lift your shoulders towards your ears and roll them back so that your shoulder blades come together. Press them back into the down position and feel the stretch. Complete 7 to 10 repetitions of this stretch, resting for a few seconds between each repetition.
This exercise will actually work the muscles of the neck itself. Let your arms relax at your sides and keep your head upright. Gently drop your right ear towards your right shoulder and allow your head to roll down towards your chest. You should end with your left ear near your left shoulder. Roll your head in a semi-circle like this to feel the stretching of the neck muscles. Rest between each roll, and complete 5 to 10 times.
It is important to be careful and gentle when performing this exercise. You don’t want to pull the muscles of the neck or cause any further damage. Lean your right ear to your right shoulder. With your hand, gently push down on your head until you feel the stretch in the opposite side of your neck. Hold the stretch for three seconds, and then repeat on the other side. You should stretch each side about 3 to 5 times. Finally, allow your chin to drop towards your chest and use your hand to push down on the back of your head. You should feel a stretch through the neck and upper back. Hold the stretch for three seconds and repeat 3 to 5 times.
With your head facing forward and your back straight, turn your head to the right until you feel the pain or stiffness that is bothering you. It is important that you do not go past the point of feeling pain because it can lead to further injury of the neck muscles and structures. Carefully bring your head back to midline and then slowly turn your head to the left. Keep your chin level throughout the movement and perform the exercise ten times. You can do one to three sets as your condition allows.
This exercise helps to build up the strength in the neck and help with the posture of the head. With your head facing forward, place two fingers on your chin. Slowly push your chin back until you can feel a double chin forming on the front of your neck. Be sure to keep your chin parallel to the ground and push your chin straight backward. Hold the position for 10 seconds, and then repeat one to three times. Don’t go past the point of pain when performing this exercise and focus on keeping your head straight and level.
This exercise will help to increase the strength in the muscles deep in your neck. It will also help you to keep your neck stabilized throughout the day. Lie on your back and relax your head onto the surface. Push your chin back so that you create a double chin. Be sure to push your chin straight back and keep it parallel to your feet. With your chin tucked, raise your head off of the floor and hold the position for 10 seconds.
Slowly relax your head back down towards the floor and allow your chin to extend. You can perform this maneuver up to 10 times as your condition permits. It is important to keep your chin tucked, and you should stop when you are unable to comfortably hold the chin in this position. Work up to holding your head off the floor for a maximum of 30 seconds per repetition.
If you are having back and neck pain, the experts at BASIC Spine can help. We are a group of neurosurgeons who can help you with the possibility of surgery, but we are much more than that. We have a chiropractor who can help you with adjustments and neck exercises to improve your condition, and we have a pain management doctor on staff to prescribe any necessary medications. Contact us today for a consultation.