In a world with an increasing remote workforce, neck pain is an increasingly common complaint amongst my patients. This can certainly make a huge difference on both your productivity at work and your overall well being. While I am always advocating that there is no "one size fits all" approach to the treatment of ANY condition, there are some common principles that can be helpful for treatment in this area. Check out the rest of this post for some simple strategies to help you feel better, both NOW and going forward.
Getting down and dirty, this video shows the simplest and quickest movements you can try out to ease your neck pain....like yesterday. The following activities can be considered palliative exercises, meaning their goal is to reduce pain and stiffness to allow you to manage your pain independently. Trial the following movements to see how your pain responds and utilize as often as needed for comfort/pain relief.
Now, I would be remiss to talk about treating your average, garden-variety neck pain without mentioning headaches. Headaches can be a direct result of neck pain or a neck restriction due to tension, the anatomy/location of some of our nerves, or overall imbalances. This video outlines some movements you can use to specifically target a headache associated with a neck issue. Notice there are a few movements in common with the first video.
The mobility of our thoracic spine (area of your spine between your neck and low back) is often stiff and tight due to lack of regular mobility within our day-to-day tasks within society. This stiffness and tightness often can contribute to additional strain on the neck. If we gradually introduce more movement in this area, it often takes strain off of your neck. This is often the missing link in many traditional rehab programs for the neck. These exercises are aimed at doing just this.
My final point in this post is to guide you with regard to long term change when discussing neck pain. If you've found some relief with the movements in the previous videos - thats AWESOME! There is a huge benefit to being able to self-manage symptoms and avoid slippery-slope medical interventions including medications, injections, and surgery. However, understand that more work needs to be done to prevent future episodes of pain and become truly resilient against other associated issues. This is often where many people will fall off in the rehab process. For a lot of people, exercise and movement becomes a luxury once the pain is gone. Pain, if nothing else, is a great motivator. However, understand that you experienced pain for a reason. That reason is often because your body is telling you to change something. These previous movements may help to temporarily decrease symptoms, but they did not change what imbalances in your life may have caused the pain in the first place. Check out this video for the next steps to keep your neck pain away for good.
The following section consists of corrective exercises that are all targeted on increasing strength and endurance of the postural muscles that we utilize while sitting or standing. Strengthening these areas allows us to have a greater protection against what is known as "postural injury" or the types of injuries seen from prolonged static postures such as slouching your head forward at your desk in front of a computer. In general, it is best for the neck when we keep the shoulder blades down and back with a slight chin tuck with our head stacked directly over our shoulders. Try these exercises to see where your areas of opportunity may be and if there are any glaring weaknesses side to side.
That's about all I got for "average" neck pain. I hope you found value in being able to self-manage your symptoms and further understand the process and why the symptoms may have started in the first place. Have further questions? Want to discuss your specific situation with a professional? Contact me using the information below or use the "BOOK NOW" tab at the top of the page to book a free initial assessment and let's figure it out together.
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