BEST Exercise For Your Neck Pain

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

On Sunday, we headed out to the dog park and finished up with some 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 have for you today.

As I get settled into my new office, I have had a chance to dig into some research to 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:

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 sat for 10 hours behind a desk each day. They had all 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 that focused on low-load training of the craniocervical muscles, and the other group simply 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 long periods of time, using desks or chairs that do not match your body, poor beds, not enough exercise, and heavy school bags.
  • 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 may sound fancy, but the exercise is simple. 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 on 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 deep belly breaths, making sure to blow out any tension in your neck and upper body.
  3. Take your hands and touch the sides of your neck. Make sure the muscles in your neck, specifically the sternocleidomastoid and scalene, are relaxed.
  4. To perform the exercise, 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 in the front of your neck. Hold the end of the nod for 10 seconds.
  5. Return to the starting position 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 Results from the Research:

They found that the experiment group had an improvement in head tilt angle, neck flexion angle, forward shoulder angle, and the 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.

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 that you can do at home to help eliminate your neck pain, then check out Neck Pain Solved, here:
Neck Pain SolvedRick Kaselj, MS

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