I remember getting up the day after CrossFit Open work out 18.4 (deadlifts and hand stand push-ups) and feeling like I tried to run through a wall head first. Needless to say, I was on the struggle bus for the hand stand push up part of the work out. After lying on the ground for a while I got up and noticed how difficult it was to move. No big deal though, right? The next morning came and I was stiff and sore. Then while driving I turned my head quickly to check my blind spot and had a not so nice stab of pain. I realized I needed to get my neck moving again.
This occurrence is common with neck pain and is one thing I see consistently. This blog will show you how to do a quick and easy assessment of your neck to see what is the most problematic area and best of all how to fix it. Although there are many things that can cause neck pain we are going to focus on the two main structure types and patterns that cause neck pain, the muscles and the joints.
First a general muscle tightness pattern is when you move your head in one direction and you feel a pulling sensation on the opposite side. For example if you look down and feel a pulling sensation in the back of the neck. Second a joint tightness pattern happens when you move your head into a direction and you feel a stop or a pinch. For example if you look up and you feel a pinch in the back of the neck. Most of the time muscle and joint tightness will go together so don’t freak out if you have both. Start with one and then move to the next. There are a lot of other structures around the neck, if you fells numbness, tingling, light headed, or other abnormal symptoms please take a break.
There are a lot on muscles around the neck, we will go through the biggest ones that will have the most impact on your movement.
All the joints in the neck need to move just like the rest of the body. Most of the time the joint is the missing link to fix neck pain. Here are some ways to get moving again.
Using the peanut for 2-3 minutes is a great way to get the muscles to loosen up around the neck.
Using the band is a great way to get the joints in the neck moving better. Do this for 3-5 minutes making sure to move the band to different levels of the neck.
Band Distraction can help to alleviate pain and decompress the neck to allow for other treatments to work better.
Using a lacrosse ball to help loosen up the surrounding muscles that affect posture and attach to the neck can help to keep away neck pain for the long run. Do each of these for 2 minutes.
Getting your deep neck flexor muscles active can be helpful in decreasing neck pain and improving posture. Feel for other muscles to take over, once that happens rest.
Give these exercises a shot and see how they help. Most of the time the neck can take a couple days or weeks to get back to normal. So be patient and stay consistent. Don’t get caught up in the pain, instead focus on movement and function. Too often we see minimal improvements in pain early on even though our function is improving. If initially you had pain trying to check your blind spot while driving and now you have the same pain but you CAN check your blind spot, you are getting better. If motion is not changing then it is time to get some help.
If you have neck pain and it has been longer than 2 weeks give us a call today for a free 15 minute phone consultation (808) 599-0177. You can also check out our YouTube Channel for more mobility videos.
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