Why Does Our Neck Hurt?
Kinesiologist Erin Brucker, explains why our neck hurts and 3 simple exercises to help reduce pain. Research shows that two thirds of adults in Canada will experience neck pain at some point in their life. However, high recurrence rates suggest that neck pain is a recurring condition that changes over time for different people. The upper part of the spine (otherwise known as the cervical spine) has the most mobility and least stability of the whole spine. It is composed of vertebrae, vertebral discs as well as many muscles and ligaments. Therefore, pain may come from one or many of these structures!
Unfortunately, although there are several different sources of neck pain, the origin of where the pain or symptoms stem from is usually unclear. There could be a variety of different causes of neck pain: motor vehicle accidents, repetitive movements in our jobs, and even from sleeping funny!
Which Treatments Can Help With Neck Pain?
Studies show that different modalities (a type of electrical, thermal or mechanical energy that causes physiological changes, like reducing pain) have positive implications to neck pain including manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, spinal manipulations, passive therapies, relaxation techniques, electrotherapy and stress management. While the combination of treatments does produce a reduction in pain more quickly, active exercise has shown to reduce disability before other modalities. Active exercise can work to correct compensatory superficial neck muscles and effectively rehabilitate the injured structures and supporting muscles. Findings suggest that targeting the pain 3X per week will increase muscle strength and quality of life. Here are three exercises to start engaging the correct muscles and help reduce your neck pain.
1. Chin Tuck
- Sit or stand with head in a neutral position
- Pull head straight back and hold for 3-5 seconds and move head forward to resting position
- Repeat as tolerated
2. Chin Tuck with Band
- Follow same steps above with a band pulling your head in a forward position
- Can also do this exercise with band pulling to one side or the other
3. Chin Tuck with Shoulder Flexion
- Follow same steps as above while raising each arm overhead
As physios, we always encourage prevention and there’s no better way than a proactive approach to improving mobility. We always advise that it’s more important to be consistent, so always start with movements that are doable first, then work your way up to more challenging or extensive routines. If you’re looking for upper body stretches, be sure to check our last post on upper body stretches for better flexibility and posture!
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The Physio Shop specializes in evidence-based physiotherapy and massage therapy in a sweet commercial drive clinic, with a friendly barbershop feel. Plus, we do virtual sessions too, because 2020 right? If you’re dealing with nagging aches and pains, schedule a session with our finest Physiotherapists or Massage Therapists today. Or stop by and say hello to Sophie, that works too.