What Exercises Strengthen Your Neck?
Since injury or surgery, exercise is a crucial part in managing the spine. Nutrients are delivered into the disc space, joints and soft tissues in the neck through successful therapeutic exercises. A daily regimen of exercise allows patients to increase mobility and strength, reduce recurrence, and decrease the severity and length of any future neck and arm pain episodes.
What exercises help maintain a healthy back?
Exercises can be divided into three basic groups:
Strengthening: repeated muscle contractions until the muscle becomes tired.
Stretching or Flexibility: slow, sustained lengthening of the muscle.
Low-impact Aerobic: steady exercise using large muscle groups.
To prevent injury, all of these exercises should be done slowly and comfortably. Remember to breathe without holding your breath naturally; exhale during exertion and inhale during relaxation.
Before commencing any exercise program, we highly suggest that you meet with your doctor or physical therapist. For those with neck and arm symptoms, the following are general exercises. For particular spine conditions, modifications can be required. DO NOT neglect pain. Don’t resume the exercise if you experience intensified discomfort or pain spreading to the shoulder and arm.
Exercises: Neck Stretches
- Upper Trapezius Stretch: Sit straight and keep your shoulders down with a strong stance. With one hand , hold the bottom of the bench. Turn your ear slightly toward your shoulder until you feel a relaxed stretch on the opposite side of your neck. For 20 seconds, keep the spot. Repeat 3 times on each hand. Perform 2 times per day of this exercise.
- Levator Scapular Stretch: Sit straight and keep your shoulders down with a strong stance. With one hand , hold the bottom of the bench. Turn your chin toward your armpit slightly until the opposite side of the neck feels a relaxed stretch. For 20 seconds, keep the spot. Repeat 3 times on each hand. Perform 2 times per day of this exercise.
- Neck Rotation: Rotate the head from side to side, gently and slowly. Do not turn your head to either side entirely, keep your movement minimal. Without letting your chin drop to your shoulders, keep your chin level with the ground. 10 times to repeat. Perform 2 times per day of this exercise.
- Doorway Stretch: Stand in a doorway as seen in the photo with hands and arms out to the side. Hold your forearms flat against the door frame. To feel a relaxed stretch in the chest area, take one step forward with one knee. For 10-20 seconds, keep the spot. Repeat thrice. Perform 2 times per day of this exercise.
Exercises: Neck Strengthening
- Shoulder Scapular Squeeze: As seen in the picture, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keep for five seconds. 10 times to repeat. Only push hard enough to facilitate good posture, not to cause pressure or pain. Perform 2 times per day of this exercise.
- Wall Push Up: Approximately shoulder width apart, begin with feet. Place hands slightly below shoulder level and elbows straight against the wall, as seen in the photo. Bend your elbows while holding your head in a neutral spot. Using 1-2 sets, repeat 10 times. Perform 2 times per day of this exercise.
- Theraband™ Rows: Place the Theraband or tie a knot in the Theraband around a doorknob and shut it in the doorway. At chest stage, anchor the band. Standing tall in your hands for each end of Theraband, knees slightly bent, abdominal muscles strong. Push the arms back while squeezing the shoulder blades together while retaining strong trunk muscles. Without shrugging the shoulders up towards the ears, concentrate on gripping the shoulder blades. Return to the starting spot. You don’t lean back. Repeat twenty times. Performing 2 times a day.
- Prone Rows: Lay on your stomach (try angling your body so that your head faces the corner of your bed) with your arms hanging off the side of the bed. For warmth, use a pillow under your stomach. Start by pulling the arms back while bending the elbows and squeezing the blades together, then return to the starting position slowly. Don’t raise your head as you draw your arms down. Repeat twenty times. Performing 2 times a day.
Are You Looking for Relief From Neck Pain?
Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical neck pain relief and recovery therapies. We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Our highly experienced physical therapist will work with you to improve your function and relieve your pain. We start by assessing the body as a whole. Oftentimes the cause of pain or an injury extends far beyond just the body part or muscle hurting. Without taking a comprehensive look at your entire self, we would be doing you a disservice in fully helping you heal and preventing future limitations. We then move on to fixing your areas of limitation. Not all diagnoses are created equal. One person with neck pain may have completely different limitations than the next person. Your recovery program needs to be specific to what YOUR body needs and not just the typical exercise program that you can find online. Just because your pain decreases or you can walk longer doesn’t mean that it is enough to get you functioning at the level you want to be. While this often signifies the end of care at your typical PT clinic we don’t stop providing guidance until we help you successfully meet every goal you set for yourself with us on day one. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!