Modern life can be a pain in the neck – literally! Whether it’s a function of the ergonomics of your workspace, constantly looking down at your smartphone or tablet, or just the day-to-day of carrying groceries, bathing children, or general stress, cervical pain is a reality and it only gets worse as we age. If you’re experiencing neck pain on a regular basis, then doing exercises on your own is likely not enough, and you need to make an appointment to be seen by a cervical spine specialist. But if your pain is only intermittent, then you may be able to get some relief from doing these exercises:
• Neck rotation – This exercise should be done in both directions regularly to keep yourself flexible and avoid stiffness. Stand up (or sit up) straight, then slowly turn your neck as far as you can to the side, holding it there for a few seconds. Return to center and repeat on the other side. Do this exercise five times.
• Shoulder roll – This exercise not only eases stress and feels good, but also helps to strengthen the muscles in your neck. Stand or sit up straight, then slowly roll your shoulders backwards and forwards, then up and down. Repeat five times.
• Chin drop and raise – Sit up straight and allow your head to drop forward until you touch your chin to your chest. Inhale and exhale deeply, then return your head to normal position. Now tilt your head backwards and do the same thing. Repeat 5 times.
• Side head tilt – Stand or sit up straight and tilt your head to one side, pushing your ear as close to your shoulder as you can without raising your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, return to an upright position and then repeat on the other side. Do this exercise five times.
• Neck retraction – This exercise can strengthen your neck muscles and relieve stress in the shoulder. Sit or stand up straight with your head aligned over your spine, then pull your head backwards as if to align your chin with your spine. Hold for a second and release. Repeat 5 times.
• Neck bending with hands – This is a repeat of the chin drop and side head tilt with the addition of applying gentle pressure with your hands to your head. Do not perform this exercise to the point of pain. You are looking for a gentle stretch.
If performing any of these exercises adds to your pain it may be an indication of a physical problem in your cervical spine. These may include a degenerated or herniated disc, cervical osteoarthritis, cervical spondylosis or several other conditions that require diagnosis by a cervical spine specialist. Contact our office to set up a consultation for a diagnosis and to set up a treatment protocol specifically designed for your condition.