Have you ever had that nagging pain that lingers in your neck region?
And even worse, for some reason, you can’t explain it. You have no idea when, how it started, and what to do about it.
Neck pain is becoming increasingly common today. According to research, neck pain is more common among workers in jobs where long sitting periods are the norm. Neck pain has been shown to mostly affect working-class women.
Neck pain has many different causes. Even unassuming causes such as placing your head in an awkward position while sleeping or on your commute to work.
Here’s what you need to know about your neck.
Your neck is the short region extending from the base of your skull to your clavicle. It is made up of bones, ligaments, and muscles. Between the bones are cervical discs which are mechanics for absorbing shock during movement.
Your neck, like other parts of your body, can develop pain and stiffness due to injury, inflammation, or trauma.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that Neck pain is not a severe condition, with the proper care, you can relieve the pain within a few days.
However, if your neck pain persists – it may be a symptom caused by an underlying disease. And you should consult a doctor.
Common injuries of the neck include; neck spasm, whiplash, herniated disc, muscle sprain, laryngitis, airway obstruction, vocal cord polyps, throat cancer.
At the end of this article, you’ll learn a few things about your neck;
- What causes neck pain
- 4 exercises that’ll help you get rid of neck pain
- The benefits of neck exercises
- Practices to help you prevent neck pain
Let’s get to it.
Common causes of neck pain?
As we’ve discussed, neck pain is a common complaint that derails health and wellness – especially in working-class people.
However, most neck pain stems from poor posture – sitting too long in a spot, hunching over your workstation, or leaning over your computer. These complaints can be prevented by adopting lifestyle changes. And can be remedied by exercising and stretching.
The most grievous and common cause of neck pain is osteoarthritis -Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that causes inflammation to the bones of the neck leading to extreme pain.
Symptoms of neck pain are revealed in;
- Muscle tightness and spasm
- Excruciating pain
- Inability to move your head
Luckily, neck pain is not fatal, and recovering from neck pain is as simple as stretching and carry out simple exercises to relieve stiffness and pain.
Here are exercises that can rid you of neck pain.
4 exercises that can help you get rid of neck pain
Experts advise that the key to a healthy neck is movement. Stretching your neck multiple times a day can do wonders for preventing neck pain.
Here are 4 exercises you can do to get rid of neck pain.
Upper trap stretch
The trapezius muscle goes from the back of your shoulders to the back of your neck. This muscle is important in the active movements of the neck. For example, the trapezius helps you to move your shoulders. It also helps to tilt and turn the head and neck and twisting the arms.
So stretching your trapezius muscle is a great way to get rid of neck pain.
1) Lower your right hand and place behind your back
2) Place your left hand on your right ear.
3) Tilt your head like you are trying to make your left ear touch your shoulder.
You will start feeling a slight stretch in your right trapezius area. The stretch should be light enough to be relaxing, and you should just enough without causing pain.
You should feel a stretch in the muscle of the side you are pulling away from. And a slight tilt in the muscle of the side you are pulling towards.
Hold the position for about 20 seconds. Change position and repeat the stretch on the opposite side of your body.
Levator Scap stretch
The levator scapular muscle goes from the inside of your shoulder blade up to the back of your neck. This muscle helps to stabilize the neck and also helps to move the shoulders.
Trauma to this region of the neck can lead to neck pain and spasm.
Stretching the levator scapular can help to subside pain and spasm in the neck region.
1) Place your right hand below behind your back.
2)Tilt your head with your left hand to the left.
3) Rotate your head 45 degrees.
4) Pull your nose downwards to your armpit region.
You will feel a slight stretch on the muscle on the right between your shoulder and your neck. You should feel a stretch in the muscle you are pulling away from.
Hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Then change to the opposite side.
Neck side tilt
This exercise is a great daily routine for stretching the upper neck muscles.
Here’s how you do it.
1) Start by standing upright – feet apart and hands by your side.
2) Rotate your head to your right shoulder
3) Try to use your ears to touch your right shoulders, but don’t raise your shoulder.
4) For greater effect, place your right fingertips are the base of your skull and gently pull.
Hold this posture for 15-20 seconds. Do this 5 times at least. Then change to the opposite side of your body.
You should feel a stretch during the exercise. And relaxation in the neck region once the exercise has been completed.
Forward flexion stretch
This stretch exercises all the muscles of the neck that go along the spine.
This exercise is best done standing upright.
1) Stand upright with your shoulders leaning slightly backward.
2) Roll your chin forward towards your chest.
3) Take a deep breath to relax your shoulder muscles.
Keeping your hands down by your sides, you should feel a good stretch of the muscles that lie in the back of the neck.
Hold this position for 10-15 seconds.
Other exercises for preventing neck pain
You can prevent neck pain by getting into the habit of stretching or moving your neck and shoulders. This simple exercise can be carried out while walking or while sitting. It helps to decompress and relax your neck muscles.
1) Raise your shoulders straight up and slightly forward.
2) Rotate them in a circular motion going forward while keeping your back fixed.
3) Do this as many times as you.
You may not feel a stretch, but this exercise helps to decompress your neck muscles.
Return to the start position. And this time, go in the opposite direction – backward.
Benefits of neck exercises
When your neck and back muscles become stiffened, this can lead to the poor posture of your shoulder. This poor posture of the shoulder contributes stress to the structures of the neck leading to pain and muscle spasm. Poor posture with the head, either sitting or from sleeping often lead to chronic neck pain.
Neck exercises and stretching helps to prevent and get rid of neck pain.
Other than this, it helps to relax you and prevent stress, especially if your job involves sitting for a long period.
Here are the main benefits of neck exercises;
Neck stretching: Stretching helps to increase the range of motion as well as increase elasticity of the muscles and joints of the neck. Routine stretching helps to reduce stiffness that commonly caused neck pain.
Neck strengthening: Exercising your neck strengthens the structure of the neck. This helps you maintain good posture. And prevent neck pain. You should look to do neck strengthening exercises as often as you can.
Improve conditioning: Improving conditioning means improving blood flow, and consequently oxygen circulation to the muscles and soft tissues of the neck and shoulders. This can be done by doing general exercises such as running, lifting weights, and playing sports.
Also, doing sports releases hormones that help to reduce the stress that can contribute to neck pain.
Other practices you can do to help you get rid of neck pain.
1) Apply ice or heat packs to relieve muscle spasm and pain
2) Regular massage your neck before getting into bed
3) Try eastern medical remedies such as Acupuncture
4) Visit a chiropractor
5) Adopting a healthy diet plan
6) Look for ways to laugh, have fun and engage in sporting activities
When to see the doctor
If pain in your neck persists for more than a week after taking precautions – massaging, applying ice or heat pack, stretching – you should consider visiting the doctor. You should also see the other if you have; Pain without any cause, numbness, tingling sensations, pain that radiates down your arms, inability to move your arms or hands, inability to touch your chin to your chest.
Neck pain is a frequent complaint but it can be prevented by living healthy lifestyles, exercising and adopting good posture.
Frequently practicing the exercises outlined in this article will not only help you get rid of neck pain but will make sure you prevent neck pain.