Poor posture is a common cause of neck pain. It can lead to tension in the neck muscles, joint irritation, and pain. Exercises can be effective in reducing pain, increasing mobility, and strengthening the neck and postural muscles.
While neck pain is often not serious and can improve within a few weeks, there are steps individuals can take to relieve the pain at home. Over-the-counter pain relief medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help, and staying active can also be beneficial.
Exercises can be particularly helpful in reducing neck tension and improving the range of motion in the neck. However, individuals experiencing severe neck pain should avoid attempting exercises and seek medical attention instead.
This article will explore various exercises that can help alleviate neck pain, as well as potential causes and treatments for neck pain.
Can exercises alleviate neck pain?
If you are experiencing neck pain, exercising may be helpful, but the effectiveness depends on the underlying cause of the pain.
It’s essential to seek medical advice before engaging in exercises, especially if you have a recent neck injury.
Neck pain can be challenging, affecting your daily activities and even radiating to other parts of your body, such as your shoulders and arms.
Treatments for neck pain aim to alleviate discomfort by:
- improving joint mobility and range of motion
- reducing neural tension
- enhancing muscle flexibility.
- increasing postural strength
Neck pain can be relieved at home by taking rest and performing gentle exercises. In some cases, medications may also be needed to reduce inflammation and pain in the affected area.
However, severe neck pain may require additional forms of treatment. If the pain persists, doctors may recommend visiting a physical therapist for an exercise program that can help in reducing the pain and improving neck mobility.
10 Effective Exercises For Neck Pain
Performing neck stretching exercises can help alleviate muscle tension and increase the range of motion. The following are some examples of exercises that are suitable for individuals experiencing neck pain with mobility issues.
Starting from a relaxed position, gradually rotate the head to the left as if looking over the shoulder.
Hold this position for a moment before returning the head to its original position.
Then, do the same on the right side to complete the exercise.
2. Neck Rotation
Bend the head forward towards the chest and hold for a brief moment.
then gradually move the head upwards to a neutral position.
Repeat this movement multiple times.
3. Shoulder rolls
To perform this exercise, begin with your head and neck in a neutral position.
Then, lift both shoulders in a shrugging motion, being careful not to move the head or neck.
Move the shoulders in a circular motion, squeezing the shoulder blades together and then releasing them to push them forward.
Repeat the circular motion in the opposite direction to complete the exercise.
4. Side bends
With both arms extended straight above the head, interlace the fingers.
Gradually lean towards the left side, taking care not to bend the neck.
Keeping the arms elevated above the head, go back to the center position.
Repeat the action on the right side.
5. Seated twist
To perform this exercise, sit upright on a chair with a straight back.
Place the left hand on the right knee and gently pull it towards the right to rotate the shoulders as if looking behind the chair.
Hold for a moment, and then slowly return to the center.
Repeat the twist on the opposite side by placing the right hand on the left knee and gently pulling it towards the left.
Exercises to strengthen postural muscles
Performing exercises to strengthen the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back can aid in recovery from neck pain and prevent future injuries. These exercises focus on improving the strength of postural muscles.
Examples of strengthening exercises include:
1. Head lifts
Assume a supine position on the floor with arms extended to the sides.
Gently bring your chin towards your chest to make a nodding motion with your head.
Maintain this position for a few seconds, then release back to the initial position.
Repeat the movement several times.
2. Lateral raises
To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a weight in each hand.
Keep your body still and slowly move your arms outwards until they are in line with your shoulders.
Then, slowly lower your arms back to your sides and repeat the movement.
3. Anterior raises
To perform this exercise, stand upright with a weight in each hand.
Start with arms down at the sides of the body.
Slowly lift both arms forward away from the body until they are level with the shoulders, keeping the arms straight.
Hold this position for a moment before slowly lowering the arms back to the sides of the body.
Repeat the exercise.
4. Seated overhead press
Sit on a chair or bench and hold weights in each hand at shoulder level.
Lift the weights above the head by extending the arms upward.
Lower the weights back down to shoulder level in a slow and controlled manner, and repeat the exercise.
Neck pain can be caused by a variety of factors and is a frequently experienced condition.
In some cases, neck pain may resolve on its own without treatment. However, exercises tailored to the cause of the pain may help reduce discomfort, improve range of motion and strength.
In certain instances, a person may require assistance from a physical therapist to develop an exercise program.
Additionally, a doctor may prescribe medications to decrease inflammation and alleviate neck pain.