Do you remember having such a stiff neck and needed to turn your whole body to look somewhere or answer someone? If so we have the solution you need! There are many different areas of the neck that can limit rotation and many different causes for neck pain. The easiest to modify this posture, and sleep position, but other factors such as prolonged positioning, quick movements or trauma can also cause the neck to be stiff and painful.
Cervical (neck) pain is a common issue with surfing, golf, CrossFit, and daily life. Often times it presents as stiffness in the morning or difficulty with turning your head while driving or talking to coworkers in the office. If left untreated, this stiffness limits ones activities in daily life and becomes painful as time goes by. Below are the top 4 ways to loosen up the neck and maintain it to continue to be pain free and without limitations.
The main limitations with neck motion are either the joints in the neck or that muscles that are around the neck. Read on to figure out what these different structures feel like and what exercises will work best for them. It is rare to have muscle tightness without joint stiffness, and vise versa, but it is important to figure out what is the root structure.
1. Band Rotations-
The band rotations are most helpful if you are looking one direction and have a pinching/hard stop feeling on the same side. You can also have this same sensation with looking up. This sensation is the joints that allow our neck to move aren’t moving very well and limiting our motion.
Place band or towel at the level of the neck that you feel is tightest, with one hand holding the band on your chest. Rotate the hand and the neck together in the same direction while pulling the band away from the body. Repeat 8-10 times or until neck loosens. Can be performed throughout the day.
2. Theracane to Upper Trapezius-
The Theracane is most helpful if you are looking one direction and have a pulling/muscle stretch on the opposite side. You can also have this same sensation with bringing your ear to the shoulder. This sensation is the muscles on the top of the shoulder are tightening up and limiting motion.
Place knob end of the theracane into the focal trigger point. Move the head away from the side that pressure is being given for an active release. Perform 4-5 times on each spot.
3. Band Distraction/Traction-
The band distraction is most effective with relieving pain and giving a general stretch and unloading the joints. The effects of this alone may feel good temporarily but need to be combined with 1 or 2 other exercises to be effective.
Place band at the base of the skull. Do it either lying on your back or seated. Pull the band at an angle up and away from the face (ideal angle is as far up as possible without it slipping of the base of the skull). Perform 2-3 times with 30 sec to 2 min holds.
4. Self Massage with a Peanut-
The peanut is most effective if you are looking one direction and have a pulling/muscle stretch on the opposite side. You can also have this same sensation with looking down. This sensation is the muscles in the back of the neck that are tight and limiting motion.
Place the peanut (Mobility WOD gemini or 2 lacrosse/tennis balls taped together) on a 1-2” surface at the level that is stiffest and move the neck slightly up and down or side-to-side to loosen it up. If more pressure is needed lift up the hips. Perform for 3-5 minutes moving to different levels on the neck.
Don’t let neck pain determine what you do and your activities. Take 10-15 minutes out of your day to help yourself. These simple and effective exercises can be used to get the neck moving and improve daily life.
If you have tried all of these and still need some help give us a call.
Thanks for reading
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