Common neck pain symptoms include:
Stabbing or sharp localized pain
Achy all over
Radiating pain shooting through neck and into back or arm
Difficulty lifting objects
Decreased mobility or “frozen” neck
Muscle spasms or twitching
Pain that increases over time
Physical therapy is a standard treatment for chronic neck pain.
The goal of PT is to reduce pain and stiffness as well as build strength and flexibility in the neck through exercises.
The exact methods and practices used in physical therapy can vary depending on the person’s needs and the severity of their condition.
The duration of the treatment plan will also depend on the individual’s progress and goals.
The following exercises are a good starting point that you can do to make your neck better .
🎥 Cervical Mobility Drill
Roll a towel big enough to support the curvature of your neck entirely.
Start by looking up gently using the towel as a guide ( do not lift your neck from the towel) and then reverse the movement by looking down.
You should feel a gentle stretch in the front and back of your neck.
Recommended 10 times for 3 to 4 sets . 2-3 times a day especially if you work from home and your neck gets tight at the computer.
🎥 Cervical Spine Strengthening
There are numerous muscles involved in controlling and moving the neck, including the neck flexors, which are located on the anterior or front side of the neck.
In this exercise the goal is to strengthen the muscles around the cervical area to create a more stable spine and reduce tension on vertebrae , Joints and discs.
The more you can hold the better.
Start with 5 to 10 seconds and build it up till you can hold it for 25-35 seconds or more.
Based on previous research (Domenech MA, et al. The deep neck flexor endurance test: normative data scores in healthy adults. PM R. 2011) , the average hold times for adult healthy males was 38.9 seconds and 29.4 seconds for females.
🎥 Scapular Retractions
Another very important exercise that helps with further strengthening of the mid back and Scapular musculature .
Use a light band or tube.
Keep your cervical spine aligned with your shoulders and your chin tucked .
Grab the band with your palms up.
Separate your hands slightly till you feel your scapular muscles working .
Start with 5 to 8 repetitions for 3 sets .
🎥 Bow and Arrow
This one is a great exercise to promote not only upper and mid back strengthening but also Thoracic mobility into rotation and extension usually neglected.
Use a light band or tube.
Keep your cervical spine aligned and your chin tucked .
Grab the band and extend one arm completely and simulate your are tensioning the sling of the Bow by bringing your elbow back.
You can also add some head and upper back rotations along with the movement.
Start with 5 to 8 repetitions for 3 sets on each side .
Rest, expensive MRIs will not help you much.
Research shows that active movements as early as tolerated is the treatment of choice for Neck pain
After an episode of Neck Pain, patients need to recover the Movement and the strength of the cervical spine musculature and joints.
Physical Therapy is the best initial choice for people with neck pain
Lionel Pannunzio is a Physical Therapist Certified in Sports Injuries. With more than 20 years of experience helping athletes return to their sports after an injury. He is the Owner of White Bay Sports Physical Therapy and Fitness, conveniently located in the beautiful City of Weston, where he treats Soccer Player, Runners and Athletes of all ages
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