Neck pain is a common problem nowadays. With two-thirds of Canada’s population having neck pain at some point in their lives. Neck pain can be caused due to various factors. Even if you have slept abnormally, you can wake up with a stiff neck. Any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness. But the good news is that neck pain physical therapy exercises can help reduce your pain.
If you’re suffering from neck pain or stiffness and looking for pain relief, your physical therapist might suggest the following exercises.
- Shoulder and head rolls
These stretches are a good warm-up before other exercises.
For a shoulder roll, keep your arms relaxed at your sides, and with your head upright, simply lift and roll your shoulders. Relax for a few seconds between each roll. Do ten rolls forward, and then back.
Stretch the neck before you start a head roll. Make sure your shoulder blades are relaxed, and that your head is not tilted forward. Start by dipping your chin slowly toward your chest, and hold for briefly for like 5 breaths. Next, lift your head and lower your left ear toward your left shoulder, and hold. Repeat this movement on the right side, then do a similar stretch with your head tilted back.
After stretching your neck, roll your head slowly in sections, from tucked in front or tilted back in each side, five times each. Avoid doing a full head roll, which can actually strain the neck.
- Seated neck stretch
This exercise can even be performed at your desk. Sit upright in your chair with your feet flat on the ground. Extend your right arm along your right side and place your left hand on the top of your head. Tilt your head to the left, applying pressure with your hand to gently intensify the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat the same on the right side. Do 10 reps of this exercise.
- Wall push-up
This exercise can help strengthen your shoulders and neck muscles, without causing as much stress as it would with floor push-ups. Stand at least two to three feet away facing the wall and spread your feet and shoulders apart. Place your hands against the wall, slightly below your shoulder level. Start with straight arms, and bend your elbows slowly to bring your body closer to the wall. Do 2 sets of 10 each.
- Prone rows
This exercise strengthens the muscles that pull the shoulder blades together. Lie facedown on a comfortable surface, preferably a bed would be a good option. Angle your face in a corner and dangle your arms off each side. Row upward, bending the elbows and squeezing the shoulder blades together without moving your head. Two sets of 20 reps each. You can also add light weights to this exercise if it is too easy.
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