The neck actually has some pretty heavy lifting to do. It stabilizes your ten-pound head throughout the day and allows for its motion. This makes neck pain the number three cause of chronic pain. The American Osteopathic Association even states that more than a quarter of Americans are being affected by this type of pain.
Causes of Neck Pain
Muscle tension, strain, injury and disease are relative causes of neck pain. All of the following reasons make neck pain more likely:
- Poor posture
- Working at a desk for a prolonged period
- Sleeping in a poor position
- Jerking the neck during exercise or activities
- Car accidents
- Heart attacks
Neck Pain Solutions
For the most part, neck pain isn’t a serious condition, and it can be relieved within a few days. If your neck pain continues for over a week, a doctor will be able to determine its exact cause and help provide solutions. There are many common home remedies for neck pain including ice application, improved posture and some massaging, but exercising your neck will help soothe pain the most.
Exercising the Neck
Exercising the neck simply means gently stretching it throughout the day. There are many recommended stretches to safely exercise the neck and its vertebrae. Here are a few exercises you can do throughout the day:
- Seated Clasping Neck Stretch
- This stretch will pinpoint the back of your neck as well as some of the back muscles.
- 30 seconds / 3 times daily
- After sitting on the floor or in a chair, clasp your hands and rest your palms on the back of your head. Sit up straight and press firmly in your seat. Begin to press your hands down toward your thighs while tucking your chin into your chest. As you press, apply a gentle pull of the head from the shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds, and slowly release.
- Seated Neck Release
- This stretch will work the sides of your neck.
- 30 seconds each side / 3 times daily
- Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground or sit cross-legged on the floor. Rest your right arm on the right side of your chair or on your right knee. Take your left hand and place it on the top of your head. Gently pull your head to the left, and hold for 30 seconds. Slowly release, and switch sides.
- Shoulder Shrugs
- This stretch will relax the neck and the shoulders.
- 3 second holds / 10 reps / 2 times daily
- Sit up straight in a chair with your arms resting at your side. Simply shrug your shoulders up to your ears while gently rolling your shoulders back. Hold for 3 seconds, and slowly return to normal position.
- Head Rolls
- This stretch will help with all corners of the neck.
- 5-10 reps / 2 times daily
- In a seated or standing position, gently move your chin toward your chest. Next, roll your head to the left, then backward, to the right and forward again. Continue rolling your head for about 5-10 circles, then reverse directions. Be sure to move in a very controlled manner.
- Seated Heart Openers
- Stretch through the front of your neck, chest, and shoulders with this exercise.
- 30 seconds / 3 times daily
- Begin sitting on the heels of your feet. Begin leaning back and placing your palms flat on the floor with the fingertips pointing away. Lift the chest high, arch your back and push your hips into your heels. Relax your head behind you to intensify the stretch. Hold here for 30 seconds, and gently release.
Neck pain is sometimes inevitable with our desk jobs, abnormal sleep positions and proneness to injuries. These five simple neck stretches will help release some built-up tension and begin to soothe the pain. If pain continues, your doctor may recommend visiting a chiropractor for a massage or two. Reinhardt Chiropractic will not only help you feel better now but also prepare you for a healthier future. Call today to schedule an appointment.
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