6 EASY EXERCISES TO MANAGE YOUR NECK PAIN AT HOME
Whether your neck pain is new or chronic it can be debilitating and limit what you can accomplish in your day-to-day life. Sometimes neck pain will improve on its own. When it doesn’t, you can do some simple exercises at home to help manage the pain while strengthening the neck.
One crucial factor to keep in mind is it is better to keep the neck moving than leaving it at rest. This may end up causing more pain long-term.
If you have been experiencing chronic neck pain without improvement, it may be time to see an orthopedic specialist. They can evaluate your pain and develop a treatment plan to improve the symptoms you are experiencing. Neck exercises are often added to the treatment plan but always make sure to follow the directions provided by the doctor or physical therapist as to how to perform them correctly.
In this article, we will discuss 6 easy exercises that you may be able to do to help manage neck pain at home. These exercises are not meant to replace any recommendations made by a specialist who has already made necessary recommendations to manage your pain.
The Basic Neck Stretch
The basic neck stretch can be performed while sitting or standing. The goal is to keep the body straight. Next, you will push your chin forward until you feel a stretch in your chin and throat.
Ideally, you will hold the stretch for 5 seconds. You will find the exercise helpful if performed regularly. To get used to it, only complete the neck stretch a few times, to begin with, and then build up to where you can perform it 5 times. In between exercises, you will return your head to a normal position. Throughout the activity, remember to keep your chin up.
Neck Tilting (Side to Side)
Neck tilting is just as you may assume, tilting from side to side but with a hold. You will want to tilt the head toward one of your shoulders. The most important part of the exercise is not to raise the shoulder to your ear. You may feel slight tension in your neck on the opposite side; do not force the movement.
You will hold the tilt for 5 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side. The goal of neck tilting is to build up to where you are doing it 5 times on each side.
Neck Tilt (Down)
Before you start this exercise, you will want to make sure you have good posture, either in a sitting or standing position. For the best balance, you can do the exercise by sitting down.
Very slowly, you will tilt your head down, so your chin is going toward your chest. You may feel tension or a stretch in the back of the neck during the exercise.
The exercise should be held for 5 seconds and build up to repeating the exercise 5 times. By doing the activity and the other practices mentioned, you target many of the major muscles of the neck. The exercises will stretch the neck muscles, improve strength, and help with the pain with repeated effort.
Holding a Neck Turn
With a neck turn, you are just tuning your head to the side and holding the position. It is key to keep the chin level with the shoulder and rotate slowly. Do not move the neck past the point of intense discomfort.
Hold the neck turn for 5 seconds, then repeat the neck turn on the opposite side. You will do the exercise 5 times on each side for the best outcome.
A Neck Rotation
With a neck rotation, you are looking down in the opposite direction. Start by looking down slowly to the right. Hold for 5 seconds. Bring your head back up to a neutral position to relax, and then repeat looking down to the left and hold for 5 seconds. Just as with the other exercises, you build up to repeat the exercise 5 times.
An essential factor to pay attention to with a neck rotation is posture. Make sure that you stand tall or sit tall and maintain throughout the rotation.
Did you know shoulders can play a role in neck pain? Tense or weak shoulders can significantly impact the neck. If you are doing neck exercises, it is essential not to neglect the shoulders during your routine.
To effectively do shoulder rolls, start in a sitting or standing position. You want to keep your arms at your side but bent at the elbows. Next, attempt to squeeze the shoulder blades together. You then want to roll the shoulder blades backward 10 to 15 times in a rowing motion. It is important to go slow and not rush through the exercise.
Be mindful of the neck during the exercise. You should maintain proper posture, and that includes through the neck and head. After you have rolled the shoulders backward, next move forward 10-15 times. It is okay if the exercise is only repeated once, but you can work up to three times once you have built up resilience.
How Often Should I Complete My Exercises
Once your body tolerates the exercises and becomes accustomed to completing them, you can repeat them up to 3 times a day or as directed by your doctor or therapist. If you ever feel you have worked the area past comfort, it is okay to take an NSAID such as ibuprofen or ice the area.
Never be concerned about taking a day or two off if you feel too much discomfort after starting a new stretching or exercise program to aid in neck pain relief.
If you are still finding you have discomfort interfering with daily life after starting exercises to manage neck pain at home, then consult with an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible. They can discuss the next step and best approach to monitor your pain, including medication and other non-surgical treatment methods to consider first. Most importantly, understand you do not have to suffer, so contact us if needed today!