Occasional neck pain and stiff neck are some common problems for students and office goers. From long hours of sitting, excessive stress and peering at the computer to bad sleeping posture, the neck pain reasons can be endless.
In most cases, neck pain stems from a bad posture that puts excessive stress on the neck muscles and thus, irritates joints and causes pain. However, exercises can relieve your neck pain by improving your mobility and strengthening your neck and postural musculature. When done regularly, exercises can reduce your neck tension by enhancing the range of movement in the neck. However, before you start practising neck pain relief exercises, it's important to learn about the common causes of neck pain. Identifying the exact causes might help you to choose the exercise that suits your condition the best. Remember, when experiencing severe neck pain, you must not attempt any exercises. Instead, you should seek professional help.
Some of the common causes of neck pain include:
- Degenerative Disc- Degenerative disc in the cervical region might cause severe neck pain. The condition arises when the cushioning discs of your cervical spine start to deteriorate. When these cushioning discs break down, they stop absorbing shocks and thus, the cervical bones start to rub together. The reason for the degenerative disc can be either genetic or injury.
- Muscles Strains- Staying glued to your smartphone or overuse of your neck muscles might tighten and inflame them. This often strains the muscles and can result in neck pain.
- Whiplash- Sudden injury might strain the soft tissues that support both your head and neck. Injuries or accidents that stain these tissues might hinder the mobility of your neck. In most cases, this hindrance causes severe neck pain.
- Diseases- There are many diseases and illnesses like swollen lymph nodes, meningitis, and rheumatoid arthritis that can cause neck pain in patients. These diseases reduce the mobility of the neck muscles and kill strength, causing severe pain.
- Poor Posture- The natural alignment of our head and spine provide us with proper mobility. However, when this alignment gets distorted due to our sitting, sleeping and other habits, it might hamper the mobility of our neck, head and shoulder. Thus, poor posture is considered to be one of the main reasons behind neck discomfort.
Any of these causes of neck pain might hinder our overall body posture and mobility, and thus create problems for the rest of the body. If not treated on time, neck pain can cause severe health problems and adversely affect our personal and professional life.
Exercises to Treat Your Neck Pain
Although the cure of your neck pain depends entirely on its cause, exercises can greatly help to relieve your neck pain. However, if you are suffering from severe neck pain and its cause is due to some injury, consider consulting a doctor before exercising. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you can start exercising to ease the stiffness and pain. Exercises must be done on a regular basis as resting for too long can make it tougher to move the muscles again. Thus, exercises that promote strengthening and stretching of your muscles may alleviate your neck pain.
While engaging in exercise, it's important to learn about the source of your pain. Learning about your symptoms and source, a professional physiotherapist or chiropractor can suggest exercises with an aim to reduce pain by improving your postural strength, enhancing joint mobility and range of motion, diminishing neural tension, and enhancing muscle flexibility. One need not practise heavy exercises, as gentle yet regular exercises can relieve neck pain to a great extent.
Here are some neck pain relief exercises that you can incorporate into your daily routine to improve your neck pain.
Looking straight ahead, slowly turn your neck towards the left. While doing so, ensure that your chin is at the same level throughout. Now hold onto the posture for 5–7 seconds. Gently turn your neck to the right and again hold onto the posture for 5–7 minutes. Repeat the exercise 5 times on each side.
Neck tilt is an easy yet effective exercise to relieve your neck pain. Here, you just need to tilt your neck downwards. While tilting your head down, try to touch your chest with your chin. Hold onto this position for 5 seconds and then return to the normal position gradually. To make it more effective, repeat the exercise at least 5 times.
From a sitting position, tilt your neck towards your left shoulder. Hold onto the position for at least 5 seconds. Return to the starting position. Now, gently tilt your neck towards the right shoulder and again hold onto the posture for another 5 seconds. For better results, repeat this exercise 5 times on each side.
Shoulder extension exercise is great at improving your posture while relieving your neck pain. To practise this exercise, straighten up your body and ensure that your posture is perfect. Now, try to push your chin forward while pulling both the shoulders together in alignment. Hold onto this position for at least 5 seconds. To make it effective, ensure that you experience stretching on your neck muscles. After 5 seconds, return to your original position. Do this exercise 5 times for more effectiveness.
Apart from the above-mentioned exercises, there are many that can be done with the help of exercise wheels. YoBack is one such versatile multi-use back pain wheel that can be used to practise some effective neck pain relief exercises. The YoBack is a unique 3-piece wheel for relieving back and neck pain. One can use YoBack for a full-body stretch. On regular usage, it strengthens the upper back muscles and helps you to improve your overall posture. Remember, when your neck and back muscles get weakened, that is when you experience severe pain.
The YoBack comprises 3 primary parts that can be attached to form a wheel. Exercising with this wheel enhances the curves of the lumbar and cervical spine while decreasing thoracic kyphosis. The versatility of YoBack helps ease tension from your entire body providing life-changing results to your health and wellbeing. YoBack has been designed to align perfectly with the curvature of your spine, neck and ankles, and thus, provides pain relief in a few minutes.
The YoBack can be used for lumbar and cervical stretches. Place one of the YoBlocks ( in the YoBack) against your back and while holding onto it, just lie back. This will relax your muscles in a few minutes and relieve your neck pain. You can even hold your upper back on the top of YoBack, placing it between your shoulder blades. Holding onto this position, start rolling back and forth. This exercise will relax and strengthen your neck and shoulder muscles while helping you to get rid of the discomfort.
No matter what your age, weight or height, you can always rely on YoBack to relieve your neck pain. It is compact equipment that can be easily stored in your backpacks and carried to wherever you want. This standalone equipment can be used to perform different neck pain relief exercises without the help of any professional.