Chiropractic Management of Neck Pain (Part 2)
STRETCH: A very effective exercise is performed by bending the head to the right, reaching over with the right hand, and gently pulling on the head until a good stretch is felt on the left side of the neck. Reaching down with the opposite (left) arm (as if there’s a dollar bill on the ground and you just can’t quite reach it) enhances the stretch. While stretching, tuck in your chin, drop your head forwards and backwards, and turn your head a little from side to side to feel for different tight muscle fibers. Continue this stretch for 10-20 seconds or long enough to feel that you’ve accomplished a good stretch. Then, repeat this on the opposite side. This can be done sitting or standing, and most importantly, do this multiple times a day, especially when you feel tight – like at work, for example. There are other stretches but this actually combines four different exercises into one, so it’s often enough!
STRENGTHENING: Place your hand against the side of your head and push your head into your hand using about 10-20% maximum effort (not much pressure!). First, allow your head “to win” by moving your head further until a tight stretch is felt. Second, let your hand “win” by moving the head to the opposite direction while maintaining pressure against your hand. Allow the head to bend ALL THE WAY to the end-range and repeat three times in each direction.
COORDINATION: Motor control, balance, and coordination are further enhanced by balancing on one foot with eyes open AND closed. Stand near a wall to avoid falling!
4. PREVENTION: Keep exercising and eat right! Consider joining a health club, working out with a friend, riding a bike, walking, and/or swimming. You choose!
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