One of the more common issues I have seen lately is postural neck pain. This usually results from too much sitting or desk work coupled with already sub par posture. This can lead to tension headaches, tendonitis, impingement and muscle imbalances. Treating this condition requires a custom approach. Initially spinal manipulation along with passive stretching the perfect intervention to break the pain cycle and decrease inflammation.
How long will it take to experience relief? Relief is usually experienced immediately post treatment however it is initially temporary. Like exercising, we are trying to lengthen and strengthen certain muscles; like going to the gym it takes a few sessions to maximize results. More often than not the cause of neck pain is a result of lifestyle (i.e. sitting at your desk, sitting in your car while commuting, etc.) This being said you will occasionally need a “tune-up” a few times a year. Prevention is key!
You can and should be exercising on your own in addition, and this will be an part of you correcting your posture and maintaining it! The more that you can do to correct the problem early on, the better off you will be. Below are three of the most effective exercises that will aid in correcting posture, and relieving pain. Give them a try; feel better to perform better.
1.) Chin Tucks: Similar to the wall angels, we will begin by standing with your back and head against the wall. I recommend starting with a small towel roll behind you’re head against the wall. Begin by placing 2 fingers on your chin; now draw your chin back into the wall (creating a “double chin”). Hold for a few seconds and relax. This will target the deep neck flexors and help to correct a forward head posture which causes increased tension in your neck due to perceived increase in head weight.
2.) Scapular Retractions: This can be done either in a seated rowing position or prone with no weights at home. I recommend starting prone in order to perfect the movement. Remember, these are not about weight. Begin Face down, lye with your palms facing up arms at side of your body. Begin by pinching your shoulder blades together (down and back) while rotating your palms to face the floor. Additionally extend your head and chest off of the floor noting a nice stretch. This will target the rhomboids as well as mid to lower traps to correct any rounding of the shoulders.
3.) Wall Angels (scapular wall slides): Begin by standing with back against wall; feet about 18 inches away from the wall. Lift your arms up to 90 degrees (elbows perpendicular to body) and press your elbows and hands into the wall behind you. To begin, pull your elbows back and down into the wall, noticing tension in your mid to lower lats, now relax slowly back to starting position. The goal is to maintain contact with the hands, elbows, and shoulders on the wall throughout the entire movement. This exercise will target shoulder mobility as well as aiding in correcting an exaggerated kyphosis. Tip: Try these with a band for more of a challenge!