Neck pain, along with back pain is a nightmare for many professional employees. It is also called as cervical pain. Most of these employees do not do a field job but attend calls or work on computers at their workplaces. Our cervical spine is one of the most complex and yet wonderful structure. But with our busy and stressful lives, we seldom think if our neck and back are in pain or not. Even when we are in pain –neck or back, we think to ourselves that all of it is part of the job and not affecting just us. This very thought may make the pain more intense in coming years. So like they say, prevention is always better than cure, we should be knowing some simple exercises for neck pain and adapt our lifestyle in such a way that our necks do not complain to us anymore.
What is neck pain and its causes?
Our necks are made of vertebrae that extend from the skull to the trunk. All the bones and muscles connected to the neck support our head and are the reason for mobility and flexibility. A small injury external or internal can result in pain in the neck or a stiff neck. Sometimes a severe injury may cause even a dislocation of the gentle bones. Neck pain causes, many times go unnoticed and therefore keep occurring at regular intervals.
We might have come across many individuals who were a neck brace – a kind of a strap attached to their necks. It basically is a medical device that is used to support a person’s neck. It is a necessity for some who may have suffered traumatic head or neck injuries.
There are many reasons but nowadays, work-related lifestyle has emerged as one of the causes behind the many neck pain symptoms.
Those who do not do field work and are habituated to working sitting on chairs in their offices often do not maintain a proper posture of their necks. This over time can cause stiffness in the neck.
Some of us use laptop or computers a lot in our homes or workstations and while working for a long time we forget to change our positions. This creates a strain on the neck.
Just like sitting, even our sleeping positions are important! We tend to overlook and sleep as we desire. If your sleeping position involves neck in an improper way, like a bent head for example, then this too over time will result in neck stiffness and keep you wondering where the pain is coming from.
- It is advised to sleep on your sides and not on your stomach. When we sleep on the stomach, it creates a strain on the back and spine, the reason being that most of our weight lies in the middle of the body. A stress on the spine can induce the same in other areas of the body.
- Neck and head should be maintained in a normal position and adjusted with pillow accordingly. When the neck and spine are not aligned properly it twists the neck.
- If you tend to sleep on your back, the neck should be supported by a pillow below it.
- Using many pillows or even a thick pillow can cause strain in the neck in the morning which we tend to do while watching TV. This should be avoided.
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Sometimes we imitate people who are shown on videos while doing exercises. An incorrect step involving our necks can create issues and cause temporary neck pain. So we have to be careful when we try to do exercises on our own that involves our neck or back. Indirectly, exercises for neck pain the proper ways of moving your head and neck so that the stiffness gets relieved safely.
Our necks are delicate and prone to injuries. A slip here and there or while playing sports or an unfortunate road accident can generate neck injuries because in these cases the neck starts working abnormally or in a different way. Whiplash is a major concern for many throughout the world. It is caused by a severe jerk to the head.
When bones are weakened they can lead to minor fractures called as osteoporosis. It can occur in the neck too apart from hands or knees. It becomes challenging to move head frequently in conditions like this.
A condition that causes muscle pain in the muscles throughout the body called fibromyalgia can also happen in the neck and shoulder region. Any movement involving neck becomes difficult in this condition.
Spondylosis is a condition that causes degeneration of cervical discs. This decreases the gap between vertebrae and causes pain in the neck.
By following some neck simple exercises, we can stay away from neck related pains. Some of them are listed below:
Rotation of head:
The aim of this routine is to improve the control of movements of the neck from side to side. One of the many simple and easy exercises for neck pain, that can be done by anyone young or old, while being seated or while standing and does not make you shed loads of sweat. This head rotation exercise involves turning your head slowly to the right and then to the left in a comfortable manner. This can be for done for 10 to 15 minutes as it is relatively easy compared to other exercises.
In neck exercises like this one, you stand up and then raising your shoulders straight up move them in a circle, clockwise and anticlockwise. This can be done for 5 to 10 minutes and will help loosen up your muscles in the neck.
This is another easy exercise for neck pain that involves you to stretch your neck slowly to the left and making your ear touch your shoulder in a gentle way. Once done, repeat the same, this time to the right.
This exercise can be done standing or sitting erect. On the right temple, place your right hand and make the left hand go to the left side of the head’s back. Repeat in the opposite direction by placing on your left temple the left hand. This process can be done three times. Do relax while repeating.
In your forehead, place one hand on top of the other. Now without moving your head try to push your head forward against the palm of the hand. Repeat this three times and relax in between. This is a very simple exercise that can be done any time of the day.
Try to touch your chest by moving your chin downwards without creating any stress or strain in a gentle way. Now lift your head backward slowly as far as possible again very gently. This can be repeated five times.
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One of the exercises for neck pain that are to be done while lying down, this exercise does not consume much of your time. Lie on your back with a pillow supporting your neck and feet placed flat on the ground with knees bent. Now gently push your neck into the pillow such that you can feel the muscles of your neck tightening and hold it for 10 seconds. Gentle is the thing to be stressed upon and ensure you do not overdo it. Repeat this exercise 8 times.
Neck pain exercises like head lifts may be a bit challenging but it eases the muscles. By lying on your back such that your knees are bent and feet flat on the floor, lift and lower your head while keeping your shoulders flat on the floor. You can then lie on any one of your sides and lift your head toward the ceiling. Repeat the same, this time, lying on your stomach. This exercise may take some time but should be done carefully.
Relieve neck pain in this exercise by Lying on your back and place your legs on a chair. Both the knees and hips should be at 90 degrees. Once done, now place your arms on the floor at shoulder level with palms up. This will allow the muscles of your neck to be released.
Exercises for neck pain like this one helps the muscles of the neck and upper back to release. To do this, lie on the floor and place your legs on the wall nearby. Then pull your toes back, tightening your thighs. This position should be held for 3 minutes.
With your back up against the wall, sit on the floor. Now pull your shoulders together and down, tightening your thighs and pulling your toes back. The head should be touching the wall and hold this position for 3 minutes.
Correction of posture:
Neck exercises will help you improve your sitting posture when at work or elsewhere by preventing and easing muscle pain and tension in the neck and shoulder area. The exercise is pretty to do. Sit in the chair and pull your stomach in. Draw your shoulder blades back and down and tuck your chin in, holding in this position for 10 seconds.
Chin nodding exercise:
With the aim to gently strengthen the deep neck muscles, neck exercises like chin nodding also is done lying on your back. With a pillow supporting your neck lie on your back, feet placed flat on the ground and knees bent. Slowly and gently nod your head forward. You can feel the muscles at the front of your neck. Stop just when the front muscles start tightening, and hold this position for 10 seconds. Exercises for neck pain in cases like these should be done cautiously and if you feel a bit tired than you can hold the earlier said position for 5 seconds. This might be a bit tough exercise but will help your neck muscles to gain strength.
Some handy tips that should be followed to keep neck issues at bay are given below:
Sitting in one place for the longer duration of time is not good for your back and neck. Once in a while, you should get up, move around and stretch a bit. You can place your handy items at a distance so that you are forced to move around to get them.
Desk chairs come with options to make the seats go higher or lower. Sit in such a way that your knees are lower than your hips. This will enable a natural and correct adjustment for your head and neck.
When you are on the travel, a small pillow can be placed between your headrest in the seats and the neck.
It has been observed that some people talk on the phone while driving by placing the cell phones between their head and shoulder. It is silly to strain neck to be able to talk on phones. It also puts our lives at risk and other lives too. This should be avoided at all costs.
In some instances, neck pain may occur due to cervical disc disease. Like we already know, our cervical spine in the neck is made up of 7 bones. Any injury to the disc would make the spine stiff. In cases like these, if conservative treatments do not work, then it should be treated with specialist doctors. Treatment would help a little, but it would not be possible to cure the condition.
In our busy work schedules, we at times tend to ignore some basic tips that can help us in the long run. We ignore the minor pain in the neck and the back, assuming it to be normal and a common thing happening to everybody. The thing we might be missing is information that is available but not practiced.
Taking out some time to stay fit and incorporating few exercises for neck pain in the list of other exercises to be done will help you prevent any neck concerns that may snowball into a major tragedy some day.