Neck pain can take a toll on your life and your work. Many residents of Denton, Texas are affected by neck pain that ranges from mild to excruciating. The most effective treatment for neck pain is exercise. Specific exercises are recommended for neck pain in order to restore and strengthen your muscles and ligaments and correct your posture.
Before you start with any type of exercise, you will want to consult with your doctor or chiropractor. You may need individual help learning the proper form for the exercises in the beginning. Doing an exercise in the wrong way may not help your neck pain. It may make the neck pain worse.
A couple of other guidelines can be helpful. Don’t ever stretch or exercise to a point where you are in pain. Only stretch to a point where it is as far as you can go without pain. Pay attention to your pain levels as you exercise. If your pain worsens or does not lessen, try another type of exercise.
In more severe cases of pain, don’t be afraid to take Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or any prescribed pain medications before or after you exercise. Get yourself into a place where you can comfortably exercise. With regular exercise, your pain and range of motion should improve. Use a heating pad if necessary to relax the muscles before you exercise and ice if you have pain after exercise.
Here are some of the best exercises that can relieve neck pain. If you suffer from neck pain all day long, you can do a few of these exercises at several points during the day.
1. Corner stretch
Stand in the corner of a room where the two walls meet. Lift up your arms and rest your elbows, forearms, and hands on each wall. Your elbows should be just a little below your shoulders. Lean your body in toward the wall as far as you possibly can without pain. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Repeat several times. This stretches your chest and shoulders.
2. Rotate the neck
Sit up and forward as straight as possible in a chair. Keep your neck in a straight line. Touch your chin to your chest so that you are looking at the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Move your neck all the way back so you are looking at the ceiling. Hold each position for 30 seconds. Turn your neck and look to the left side, then the right. Repeat this cycle three to five times. If you can tolerate a deeper stretch without pain, reach up with your hand and pull your head gently down to each side so that your ear is just over your left shoulder, then do the same on the right side.
3. Back burn
Stand up as straight as possible with your back against the wall. Make sure your shoulders and the back of your head are touching the wall. Press your arms, wrists, and hands back against the wall and slowly raise them up over your head and back down again. Repeat about ten times. Do this several times a day.
4. Chin tuck
Stand up straight against a wall. Keep your back and shoulders as flat against the wall as possible. Keep your chin tucked toward your chest so that you look forward and not up toward the ceiling. Use your upper back and neck muscles to push the back of your head against the wall. Hold for five seconds. Repeat several times. Try this in a chair or without anything against your back once you get used to it.
5. Foam roller exercises
Lie flat on the ground and place a foam roller underneath your neck. Press your neck back into the foam roller and rotate your neck to the left, then to the right. Repeat several times.
You can continue this exercise to relieve any tension in your shoulders and upper back that might contribute to your neck pain. Lie back against the foam roller so that the roller is pressed against your upper back. Reach your hands behind your head to support your neck. Use your body to roll up and down with the foam roller. You can turn your body toward one side, then the other to make sure you massage all areas of your upper back and shoulders.
For another type of exercise, turn the foam roller lengthwise where it runs parallel to your back and your entire body covers it when you lay down. Use your body to roll the foam roller from side to side to work on tension in your back.
6. Aerobic exercises
Exercises that work the entire body increase oxygen and blood flow to the joints and produce endorphins to relieve pain. Take a walk outside, use a treadmill or elliptical, or ride a stationary bike. Always stretch your muscles before exercise. If you have neck pain, do a few gentle neck stretches before and after you do aerobic exercise.