If you’re suffering with neck pain and stiffness, you’re certainly not alone. Neck pain has become so common that many people just assume it’s a normal part of aging. But make no mistake, just because neck pain is common doesn’t mean it’s normal. More often than not, it’s your body’s way of telling you something is wrong.
If neck pain and stiffness has become an expected part of your life, it’s really best to go and get checked by a chiropractor first to make sure that pain isn’t a result of restricted joints in your spine. This is a very common cause of neck pain and exercises alone won’t correct that problem.
However, another common cause of neck pain is actually weakness. Oddly enough, even when your neck feels stiff, performing the right kind of exercise is usually more effective than stretching.
Due to the increased amount of time we spend on our computers slouched over at our desks, sitting on our couches, driving our vehicles and ESPECIALLY looking down at our cell phones while we text, we’re putting more stress on our neck and shoulders than ever before. When we do this, we’re actually strengthening the big muscles on the outside of our neck, but making the small ones that lie deep inside very weak. It’s the weakening of those small, deep muscles that can set us up for neck pain.
The easiest and most effective way to strengthen your deep neck muscles is to do the following exercise:
1. Lie face-up on the floor and tuck your chin as shown in the picture on the left below
2. Keep your chin tucked and lift your head just one inch off the floor and start counting the seconds. Remember, you MUST keep your chin tucked the entire time.
3. Hold your head in that position and remember to keep breathing. As soon as you head begins to shake or you are unable to keep your chin tucked, let your head relax down to the floor.
Normally, you should be able to hold your head in that position for at least 30 seconds. Many people I see in my office struggle with 7 seconds!
Let’s say you could only hold that for 10 seconds. Your job is to do this every day and only hold it for the 10 seconds but do 3 repetitions. After 2 days of doing this exercise, try for 12 seconds – then 14, 16, etc.
Like the title of this blog suggests, this is the single BEST exercise to help you say goodbye to your neck pain!