With any neck rehabilitation program, certain things must be addressed. If you have any concerns or any increase in neck pain during these activities, please check with your medical practitioner before continuing with these activities.
It is imperative that the neck has maximum freedom of movement, so before starting a strengthening program, always make sure that you have spent a sufficient amount of time performing stretching exercises to give you pain-free range of motion. We do not want to strengthen a neck if it does not have maximum mobility.
Once you have improved your neck flexibility and the pain has decreased, it is time to add in some neck strengthening exercises so that your neck muscles will begin to have better endurance for your daily activities.
Raise your arms up with the elbows at shoulder height and bent at 90 degrees. Try to place the elbows and the back of the hands against the wall (this is a normal level of flexibility). If this is not possible due to excessive chest tightness (brought on by postural deficits), this is fine for now. The trick is to keep the spine still. As long as you feel some stretch on the front of the chest that is fine.
Raise and lower the elbows between 45 and 90 degrees, bringing the elbows back up level with the shoulders, pause for a second or two and repeat about 15-20 times. Always remember quality is more important than quantity and if it hurts, stop the exercises.
Within a few weeks you’ll feel much more freedom in the shoulders and should be able to start raising the arms above 90 degrees while maintaining wall contact with both your arms and back.
External Rotations of the Shoulder
Sitting or standing, keep your elbows by your side as you rotate your hands (palms up) away from your body and squeeze your shoulder blades together. This actively engages the muscles of your upper back and shoulder (these are some of the muscles responsible for better posture) and can relieve muscle fatigue from poor postural positions.
Start by performing this 2-3x/day for 20-30 repetitions. Once you can repeat a set 30 times without stopping, you can always add some resistance, like therapy band, for added challenge.
Now that you have improved the mobility of your neck and started to correct for muscle imbalances, it is important that you maintain these gains by ensuring that you have the best posture possible while driving and sitting. This means not only ensuring that the chairs you sit in fit properly but accommodating those that don’t. A cushion such as the BackBone helps to provide you the postural support that most chairs and car seats are lacking. Try it RISK FREE today.