Have you ever bowled?
If so, then you know that bowling balls are pretty heavy. Most people (outside of professional bowlers) tend to get tired by the end of a few games. It’s not surprising when you think about the fact that they’re throwing an 11-pound (or heavier) ball 40 or 60 times.
Now imagine having to walk around and carry that ball all day long, every day. Holding it up when you’re sitting and working, eating, only having the chance to put it down when you lay down to go to bed. Seems like a lot, doesn’t it?
The truth is, it’s what we do every day for our entire lives. The average (adult) head weighs between 10 and 11 pounds. Our bodies are designed to do it, so it’s not as big a deal as it sounds when you describe it like this. But it can become a real issue when our posture is poor, or when we’re under a lot of stress that causes us to contract the muscles responsible for supporting that weight. That’s where a lot of neck pain comes from.
We can suffer from neck pain for a variety of reasons. Some have to do with degeneration or injury to the structures in our spine. Others are issues that we can address with strengthening and stretching exercises. We urge you to do strengthening exercises and stretch regularly, and we’ve provided the stretches below to help you out. Always try to be mindful of your posture too.
Most importantly, if after a few days your neck pain doesn’t go away, contact our cervical spine specialist in New Jersey to see how we can help.
Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your shoulders relaxed, gazing straight ahead. Slowly turn your head to the left as far as you can, with the goal of having your chin directly over your shoulder. Once there, hold the position to the count of five and then tilt your head downwards until your chin touches your shoulder (or as far towards it as you can.) Hold the position for a count of five. Lift your chin and return to center, then repeat the exercise on the right side.
Seated Neck Bend
Start seated upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lace your
In a seated position on the edge of a chair or on the floor. Put your hands behind your back and lace your fingers together with knuckles facing forward. Pull them toward your left hip, then lean your head to the same side until you feel the stretch on the side of your neck. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the right side.
Stand up straight and stretch your arms out to each side. Cross them in front of you, left elbow over right and then bend your arms so that your hands are pointing straight up. Either wrap your wrists so your palms meet, or if you are unable to do that place each hand on the opposite shoulder, then lift your elbows so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Hold, then tuck your chin towards your chest and hold again.