Friday, October 16, 2015

What a pain in the neck!

I've had a lot of questions lately about neck pain.  How do I relieve it?  How do I prevent it? 

Did you know that cervical degeneration occurs in nearly everyone as they age? Some people will develop cervical arthritis. These symptoms include chronic pain, muscle weakness, numbness, stiffness, headaches and even loss of balance. 

When it comes to the neck, researchers have determined that a combina-tion of stretching and strengthening is best for pain management. 

One study followed participants with chronic neck pain over a one year period. Those who followed a stretching and strengthening program showed 10 times the improvement in range of motion and had a higher rate of pain relief than those in the stretching only group. 

 
Below are 4 exercises for you to try: 
 
Neck drop and raise
  • Sit straight in a chair and look straight ahead.
  • Slowly drop your head forward until your chin touches your chest (or as far as you can comfortably can) and hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Return to starting position. 
  • Slowly lean your head slightly back and hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times in each direction.
Head tilt
  • Sit straight in a chair and look straight ahead.
  • Slowly tilt your head towards your right shoulder, keeping your left shoulder down. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Slowly tilt head to the left side, keeping right shoulder down. Hold 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times in each direction.
 
Neck rotations
  • Sit straight in a chair and look straight ahead.
  • Slowly turn your head to the right, keeping your chin straight. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Slowly turn your head to the left, keeping your chin straight. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times in each direction.
 
Neck retraction
  • Sit straight in a chair and look straight ahead, keeping chin straight.
  • Pull you chin straight in, without dipping it in. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Return to original position.
  • Repeat 5 times.
 
Tension in the shoulders can lead to neck pain, so be sure to do a few shoulder rolls each day to relieve the muscles in your shoulders.
 
Shoulder rolls
  • Sit straight in a chair and look straight ahead, keeping chin straight.
  • Roll your shoulders up, forward and down. Repeat 5 times.
  • Reverse direction of roll, and repeat 5 times.

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