Having dull pain in your neck and shoulders; feels good over the weekend but made worse by being at work or driving long hours? You may have Monday morning syndrome. We cannot fix that. However, disc irritations in your neck we can. Irritations of the cervical discs (in your neck) sound frightening but in reality are a very common injury amongst desk workers, drivers and manual workers. It can cause pain in the neck, shoulders and in some cases down the arm. The primary cause for this is posture. We are all slouches, but it is okay, physical therapists are too. The difference is they know how to minimize and prevent it. If left that dull ache can become something nastier than that bill in the bar you forgot you started, do not leave it that long.
Here are a couple of easy ways to improve your posture:
- Deep Neck flexor exercise: or the ‘Chin tuck’, is an exercise that helps maintain good head position. Standing against a wall, retract your head backs, toward the wall, trying to flatten your neck against the wall and pull your chin in.
2. The trap stretch
How to do the trap stretch for neck pain relief
- Sit, stand or lie on you back with arms at your sides
- Side bend-(laterally flex) the head to one side and tip the ear to the opposite shoulder in a pain free range of movement
- With the opposite hand, slowly begin shrugging (lifting the shoulder towards the ear) and hold for 15 seconds then lower the shoulder to the floor.
- Repeat the exact same neck exercise on the opposite side. It’s best to try and do 2 sets of 15 seconds each side at least twice each day but there is really no real sensible limit so it can be done as often as you can fit it in.
Stretching of right side of neck
Stretching of left side of neck
3. – Cervical spine extension
Neck extension to relieve neck flexors and stretch the front of the neck
This exercise for neck pain is extremely effective as it takes downward pressure off the cervical spine while lengthening the muscles and can give immediate relief.
How to do the cervical spine (neck) extension exercise
- Sit, stand or lie on the floor with both arms stretched down by your side
- Push both shoulders down
- Tuck the chin into the chest
- Extend the head back slightly while elevating the chin to the ceiling, still keeping the arms down and back
- Hold that position for 15 seconds then rest for 30 seconds and repeat
4. Trap and neck stretch
How to do the trap and neck stretch
- Extend the shoulders down back slightly
- Grasp the wrist of the arm on the side to be stretched with the other hand
- Turn the head toward side of the neck to be stretched and tilt the head away (ear to shoulder)
- Feel a stretch in the side of the neck
- Hold the neck stretch for 20 seconds and repeat each side three times
Good sitting posture can prevent and reduce postural pain, ensure your workspace is set up as the diagram shows.
To learn more about neck pain, please contact us at Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre or request an appointment today!
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