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The Exercise Fix: Neck Pain

Neck problems are extremely common in our society. Between poor posture from excessive sitting to all the forward head positioning from smart phones and laptops, it'd be odd if you didn't have a neck problem from time to time. But here's the real problem; If your neck doesn't move very well, the movement of the rest of your body is negatively impacted. To see how much, try this one out:

We're going to test out your toe touch (posterior chain flexibility) with two different neck positions.  This will show you the impact of neck movement on the rest of your body.

For the first position: Touch your chin to your chest, then attempt to touch your toes. (proper neck function)

For the second position: Extend your head and neck back as far as possible, then attempt to touch your toes (improper neck function).

Notice a difference? With limited neck movement, the hip flexibility drastically changed. The second toe touch is much less flexible. So imagine the subtle implications of having neck dysfunctions and the impact of how you move and control your body all day long.

For the following neck movements, find out which movement is the most limited or uncomfortable:

1) Flexion

2) Extension

3) Right Rotation

4) Left Rotation

5) Cervical Spine Flexion

6) Cervical Spine Extension

7) Cervical Spine Right Rotation

8) Cervical Spine Left Rotation

After you find the most limited or uncomfortable movement, try the following corrections:

If it's Cervical Spine Flexion try this:

NOTE - squeeze the hands down on your sides in the supine position before raising the chin to the chest.

If it's Cervical Spine Rotation try this if it's to the right:

NOTE - squeeze the hands down on the floor with your right arm elevated and your left arm by your side before moving the head.

If it's Cervical Spine Extension try this:

NOTE - squeeze the hands down in the superman position before raising up the head.

If it's Cervical Spine Rotation to the left try this:

NOTE - squeeze the hands down on floor with your left arm elevated and your right arm by your side before moving the head.

If stiffness or discomfort decreases then use these exercises as preparation before working out. 1 set of 10 repetitions is recommended. Perform 4-5 sets throughout the day. Be sure to release the hand squeezes in between every rep.  Do not let your clients hold their breath.  If it doesn't help, I recommend seeking professional medical intervention.

Have your client perform the neck touches before your session.  If the uncomfortable neck movement has improved, then GREAT!  Keep that one in the database and use it in future workouts with that client.  If it didn't improve the neck movement, try the next exercise.  In my experience as a chiropractor, one of these exercises will likely help improve the neck movement.  


Your client now has improved stability and control in the neck and shoulders.  With improved stability in the neck, guess what areas are stressed less?  You guessed it!  The rest of the body.  Your client will now have better technique with additional exercises you select for rest of the workout.  Their performance will be better and you'll look like a genius!  

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