Increased screen time, poor posture and inactivity can make muscles weak, tight and misaligned—all which leads to neck pain. Your chiropractor will seek to find the source of your neck pain. Through regular chiropractic care, your pain will decrease by the discomfort where it starts.
In between chiropractic appointments, there are some simple and easy exercises you can do at home to correct issues and alleviate neck pain.
There are three main ways to help with neck pain through exercise: Stretching, Strengthening and Cardio. These exercises will help strengthen your neck, shoulder and back muscles that contribute to spinal pain.
All exercises should be started slowly. Remember to stop if you feel pain and consult your chiropractor if pain increases. These exercises are general suggestions and might need to be modified for your unique needs.
Stretching increases mobility and flexibility of the neck, helping to loosen tight muscles. Stretching can be done every day, or throughout the day when muscles feel stiff. Try to stretch for at least 10 minutes a day to feel a difference. Hold each pose for 20 seconds if possible and repeat two or three times on both sides. Like all exercises, remember to go slow and stop when you feel pain.
- While sitting, hold the seat of your chair, under the upper leg area. Bring your ear towards your opposite shoulder and feel the stretch in the side of your neck. Don’t raise your shoulder to meet your ear, bring your ear down.
- Rotate head from side to side, being sure not to overextend. Go slowly and hold the position on both sides.
- While sitting or standing, lower your chin to your chest and hold. Then tilt your chin up, bringing the back of your head closer to your back and hold.
- While standing, roll your shoulders to the front five times slowly. Then roll your shoulders to the back, five times slowly.
- Stand in a doorway with your elbows straight out to the sides, hands and forearms resting up on either side of the door frame. Slowly lean or step forward to stretch the chest muscles and realign your neck muscles.
Strengthening helps neck and back muscles, improving posture and eliminating neck pain before it starts. Strengthen your neck every other day, allowing your muscles to recover between workouts. Before you begin, warm up your muscles. Simply walking, dancing or doing jumping jacks can be enough to increase blood flow and prepare your body to strengthen.
- While standing, squeeze shoulder blade muscles together and hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
- Stand with your back comfortably against a wall, feet shoulder width apart. Extend your arms straight to the sides. Move your arms up and down like a snow angel, allowing your elbows to bend to 90 degrees. Repeat slowly 10 times.
- Stand with good posture. Slowly extend your chin forward, then slowly pull your chin in, creating neck wrinkles. Move your chin back and forth slowly 5 times.
- Stand facing a wall and place your hands in the push up position on the wall. Slowly push up against the wall while standing, keeping your head in a neutral position and allowing your back muscles to do the work.
- Lay on the floor with your arms extended above your head like Superman. Without straining your neck, raise your arms and legs at the same time, just a few inches off the ground if possible. Use your back muscles, not your neck muscles. Hold the pose for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Lie on your back, with a rolled up towel under your neck and your head touching the floor. Slowly pull your chin toward your chest, hold for 5 seconds, then release. Relax for 10 seconds then repeat.
Aerobic exercise like walking, running, treadmill or biking raises your heart rate and increases blood flow to the muscles. Using your large group muscles for a longer period of time increases mobility and lessens pain caused from stiffness. Cardio can be done daily; remember to go slow if you are new to cardio and ease into the exercise.
Bye bye neck pain
With a regular practice of stretching, strengthening and cardio, your neck pain can diminish, mobility can increase and you can reduce the chances of future pain. However, if your pain increases or even stays the same with this home exercise routine, contact your chiropractor for a deeper look at your pain issue.