Most of us have experienced neck tension or pain at one time or another. These are often caused by poor posture or degenerative changes to the cervical spine. The result is stiff muscles in your neck and shoulders, pain and limited mobility. Neck tension and pain can occur for several reasons.
Exercise is a vital part of treating the spine after injury or surgery. Active therapeutic exercises distribute nutrients into the disc space, joints and soft tissues in the neck. A regular exercise routine helps patients improve mobility and strength, minimize recurrence, and reduces the severity and duration of possible future episodes of neck and arm pain.
BEST EXERCISES TO EFFECTIVELY REDUCE NECK PAIN:
1. Upper Trapezius Stretch: Sit up or stand tall with good posture keeping shoulders down. Slightly turn your ear to your shoulder until a comfortable stretch is felt on the opposite side of the neck. Hold that position for 20 seconds. Repeat to each side 3 times. Perform this exercise 2 times per day.
2. Fascia Roll: Upper and Middle Back: Lie on your back. Place the foam roller under your back at the height of your shoulder blades. Raise your hips off the floor and engage your abs and glutes. Make sure that your hips, back and neck form a straight line. Put your hands behind your head to support your neck. Slowly roll back and forth to massage your back muscles and mobilize your spine.
You can use a tennis or a golf ball to target specific painful spots. Maintain pressure on particularly painful spots for 20 to 40 seconds until the pain subsides.
3. Shoulder Scapular Squeeze: Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times. Only squeeze hard enough to encourage good posture, not to create pain or discomfort. Perform this exercise 2 times per day
4. Neck Rotation: Rotate head gently and slowly from side to side. Do not turn head completely to either side, keep motion small. Keep chin level with the ground without letting chin drop to the chest. Repeat 10 times. Perform this exercise 2 times per day.
5. Sitting T-Spine Rotation: You may do this with a foam roller. Sit on a chair. Keep your upper body straight and place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointing out. Put the foam roller between your thighs. Press your thighs together to stabilize your hips. Turn your head, elbow, shoulder girdle, and thoracic spine to the side. While still in this position, tilt your upper body to the side. Repeat the exercise several times.