A Better Neck for the New Year

Neck painAt DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, we see the results of problems with our patients’ cervical spine, their necks, every day. Many of these problems would never have happened if the person had performed some stretching and strengthening of his or her neck, and by paying attention to their posture.

Here are some things you should do to help out your neck for the New Year.

Stretching — Flexibility and stretching exercises can expand or preserve your range of motion and elasticity in your cervical joints. This will relieve the stiffness that accompanies the neck pain. Here are four easy exercises to stretch a stiff neck:

Neck extension — Gently extend your neck by looking straight to the sky. Bring your head backward, but keep your shoulders and back stationary. Once you elevate your chin and bend your head back as far as you can without pain, hold the position for five seconds before returning to neutral position. This stretch is felt along the front of the neck through the throat.

Neck flexion — This is the reverse of the above. Here you gradually lower your chin toward your chest and look downward moving only your head. Once you’ve flexed forward as far as you can comfortably, hold the position for five seconds and then return to neutral. This stretches the back of your neck.

Lateral neck flexion — Slowly bend your head to one side, as if you’re bringing your left ear to your left shoulder. Again, keep your back and shoulders still, just move your head. Stretch it as far as you can comfortably to the left side and hold it for five seconds. Repeat it to the other shoulder. This stretches the opposite side of the neck from the side you are bending toward.

Neck rotation — While keeping your back straight and shoulders still, gradually turn your head to the left as far as it can naturally go without being painful. Hold this position for five seconds and then return to neutral. Now do the same stretch to the right rotation.

Strengthening — Proper posture is a great preventer of neck pain. To attain and keep better posture you can find various exercises to strengthen your neck.

Aerobic activity — Aerobic exercise helps your entire body, but it can help with a stiff neck as well. This is simply due to the increased levels of oxygen and blood flow to the muscles and soft tissues of the neck and upper back. After 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, your body also releases natural painkillers — endorphins.

If you have serious neck pain, we need to see you at one of our eight DFW Center for Spinal Disorders locations. Call us at (817) 916-4685 to schedule and appointment. Otherwise, doing the above exercises can help prevent that call from being necessary.

Posted in: Neck Pain

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