A pain in the neck is the last thing you want these days. Working on screens and phones means everyone’s in danger of stressing the neck muscles and cervical spine. Chiropractors can perform manual adjustments in this area but did you know there’s a simple exercise you can do to stabilise your neck and relieve pain? Studies show that the quickest route to improving neck pain is to combine manual adjustments with targeted exercises.
Read on to find out how.
Neck Pain And Posture Problems
Your neck is made up of a stack of seven vertebrae with important nerves exiting through small openings between every pair. The topmost bone (C1) is called the Atlas as it holds your head in place (like the mythic hero supporting the world). Next down is the Axis (C2), which allows you to pivot your head from left to right. All seven vertebrae are connected at the back by facet joints and stabilised by muscles, tendons and ligaments. The spinal cord runs through the middle of the structure. Arteries carry blood to the brain through small holes in the bones. This complex, sensitive arrangement allows you to tilt, turn and bend your neck – what could possibly go wrong? Well, 80% of cervical stability comes from the muscles. Weak ‘deep neck flexor muscles’ often cause neck pain because they can’t support the joints as they should.
A simple test can show whether your deep neck flexors are up to the job – your chiropractor or physio will check this for you. If the deep neck flexors are weak, you’ll be forced to rely on other muscles in the neck for movement and stability, which may in turn lead to Upper Crossed Posture Syndrome and neck pain. Upper Crossed Syndrome happens when the muscles of the upper back and neck lengthen whilst the pectoral (chest) and anterior neck muscles shorten, causing a hunched posture, imbalance and stress on the joints. Your chiropractor can adjust the vertebrae to relieve pressure, suggest exercises to strengthen the muscles, stabilise the cervical spine and advise you on improving your posture.
How To Make Your Neck Stronger
In the meantime, here’s an easy exercise to strengthen your deep neck flexor muscles.
- Lie down on your back.
- Retract your head so that you give yourself a double chin.
- Lift your head without lifting your shoulders, bringing your chin towards your chest, as though you were looking at your toes.
- Hold this position for 3-4 seconds.
- Relax and rest your head.
- Repeat the sequence ten times
- Do three sets of ten repetitions daily.
Come and see us for an assessment if you’re worried about your neck and posture – we’d love to help you feel better fast.