BEST Exercise For Your Neck Pain

The family is getting more settled in the new house and city.

On Sunday, we headed out to the dog park and finished up with ice cream.

While we were enjoying our ice cream, my youngest son began to yell at me, “Dad, you stole my ice cream!”

I said, no I didn’t, I think someone else got it…

Dog Stealing Icecream

Okay, let me get to what I got for you today.

As I get settled into my new office, I got a chance to dig in the research and see what is new. Here is something that I found: (It is not a new article but it has a great exercise in it that will help people with poor neck posture or neck pain.)

What The Researchers Looked At:

The effect of deep flexor muscle strengthening exercises on neck-shoulder posture. The researchers looked at 30 seventeen-year-old female high school students that sit for 10 hours behind a desk a day, who reported bad posture and chronic neck-shoulder pain.

The researchers split the 30 females into two groups. One group performed deep flexor muscle-strengthening exercises which focused on low-load training of the craniocervical muscles and the other group just did stretching.

If you don’t know what I mean about poor neck-shoulder posture, then Justin will help us out (Look at the photo on the left.):

Justin Bieber Poor Posture

Cool Stuff in the Introduction:

I like the introduction of research articles as they highlight a lot of great points based on research:

  • There has been an increase in head forward posture because of the increase in computer use, sitting at a desk for a long period of time, using desks or chairs that do not match your body, a poor bed, not enough exercise, heavy school bags and too much learning
  • The human head weighs about 3.5 to 4.5 kgs

Exercise Set Up

In the article, it is a little confusing how often the exercises were done. It looks like each group got 30 minutes of training, then they performed the exercises 5 times a week for 8 weeks.

Experimental Group Performed Cranio-cervical Flexion Training:

The words sound fancy but the exercise is simple. Now, I would do a video for you but my video camera is still working its way from my old house to the new house (We had a bit of mix-up with the movers.).

  1. Start in your back with a rolled-up towel under your neck. The towel should be enough to fill the space between your neck and the floor. It should also lightly support your neck but it should not tilt the head forward.
  2. Now take a few belly breaths and make sure to blow out any tension in your neck and upper body.
  3. Take your hands and touch the sides of your neck and make sure the muscle in your neck, specifically sternocleidomastoid and scalene, are relaxed.
  4. Now you are all set to perform the exercise. To perform the exercise, you tilt your head forward like you are doing a small nod with your head. The movement should come from your forehead and not your chin. Focus on the movement being done by the muscle deep to the front of your neck. Hold the end of the nod for 10 seconds.
  5. Return to the start of exercise and rest for 3 to 5 seconds before moving into the next repetition. Perform 10 repetitions.
  6. Most people will be at this level. If you have been doing the above exercise for some time and have built the relaxation, activation, endurance, and strength in the neck flexors, you can progress to lifting your head slightly off the floor.

The Control Group Performed:

  1. Seven common neck stretches done in sitting.

The Results from the Research:

What they found is the experiment group had an improvement in head tilt angle, neck flexion angle, forward shoulder angle craniocervical flexion test while the control group had no improvement.

Rick’s Comment on Things:

This ends up being an excellent exercise that someone can do to help with their head posture but also is a great exercise if you have neck pain. It is simple to do, requires no equipment, and is effective. If you do any other exercises on the floor, this is one that you can add to your routine.

J Phys Ther Sci

Where to get more information: Lee MH1, Park SJ, Kim JS. (2013). Effects of neck exercise on high-school students’ neck-shoulder posture. J Phys Ther Sci. 2013 May;25(5):571-4. DOI: 10.1589/jpts.25.571. Epub 2013 Jun 29.

If you are looking for simple exercises and a program that you can do at home to help you with your neck pain, then check out Neck Pain Solved, here:
Neck Pain Solved
Rick Kaselj, MS

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