As stated last month, exercises that focus on improving posture, flexibility, strength, and coordination are important for creating a well-rounded cervical rehabilitation program. Our discussion continues this month with stretching and strengthening exercises.
STRETCHING: Since our neck muscles have to hold up our 12 pound (~5.5 kg) head, it’s no wonder why our neck muscles seem to be tight almost all the time.
Here are two ways to stretch the neck:
STRENGTHENING: Most people have a forward head carriage, meaning their head normally rests in front of their shoulders. The further forward the head sits, the greater the load on the muscles in the back of the neck and upper back to hold it up. This position promotes a negative spiral or “vicious cycle” that can lead to many complaints including (but not limited to) neck pain, headaches, balance disturbances, and in the long-term, osteoarthritis.
There are two important groups of muscles that require strengthening: the deep neck flexors and deep neck extensors.