Despite the misconception of neck aches or pain abruptly happening to a person overnight, it usually takes several years to develop neck pain alongside backaches. Your neck consists of seven tiny vertebrae, and it usually experiences the same stress that your backbone encounters daily. That’s because the spine takes in many loads, holding a person up all day and taking a lot of pressure from the day-to-day activities. Besides those factors, chronic conditions such as degenerative disc diseases, arthritis, or weakened muscles can degrade the overall spinal structure due to wear and tear over time, resulting in a sore neck or back.
The Root Cause of Neck Ache
Your neck’s primary function is to support your head, weighing between 10 to 12 pounds, which can be problematic when you don’t hold your head the right way. Although you can handle the weight well by practicing the correct posture, the average person tends to tilt their head forward, placing more pressure on the neck.
According to studies, this position is becoming routine for most people since it’s the angle individuals do when using their cellphones, leading to more weight or pressure on your neck, resulting in a sore neck. This posture can also lead to back pain.
Fortunately, you can perform several exercises to ease your discomfort or do different methods to prevent the pain from happening. These preventive measures provide better support for your spine, which is the key to avoid neck and backaches.
Exercises to Prevent Neck and Back Pain
The neck and back are the two most susceptible areas of the body to pain because of daily stress that many individuals face in their jobs or life challenges. The best form of neck and back pain relief are exercises designed to decompress, strengthen, and align your spine correctly.
Here are the following exercises approved by professional chiropractors, allowing you to relieve your aches with ease. These workouts should be completed at least twice daily, once in the morning and before going to bed at night.
Knee to Chest
The knee to chest exercise is straightforward and can help alleviate lower back pain. Start by lying on a flat surface while bending your knees and feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to your chest as close as possible while holding that position for 15 seconds. Repeat for the other knee, and you can make adjustments if you want to stretch better by clutching your knees with your arms and pulling them in slightly. For the best results, repeat the process at least thrice for each leg and do it once a day.
Chin jut is a fantastic exercise that can alleviate pain on your neck and back while improving your posture by aligning your cervical spine. Start by extending or ‘jutting’ your head and chin forward as if you’re trying to press a button with your chin, then bring your back, neck, and chin as far back as possible. Repeat this movement at least ten times once a day.
This workout is ideal for individuals who frequently travel or work at office jobs that often leave them with poor posture with being hunched over for extended periods.
The pelvic lift can help alleviate aches in your lower back. Start by lying on the floor while bending your knees and raising your pelvic region off the ground. If you’re looking to achieve a better stretch, you can bring your pelvis as high as possible and hold it in that position for 10 to 15 seconds. Doing eight reps once a day can reduce soreness in no time.
Cervical Spine Extension
This simple exercise can alleviate pain in your neck with ease. Start by sitting down and placing your hands on your sides, then lower your shoulders with your head rolling forward to bring your chin close to your chest. While in this position, lift your head and tilt it backward until your chin faces the ceiling. This movement can ease tenderness on your neck by taking pressure off your spinal column. Doing this also lengthens your spine for better vertebrae health and long-term relief.
Seated Neck Stretch
This form of stretching aims to alleviate pain on the sides of your neck. Start by sitting on a flat surface in a cross-legged position with your soles flat on the ground, then begin extending your right arm to your right knee. After this, put your left hand on top of your head while slowly tilting your head to the left. Hold the position for 30 seconds, slowly lift your head, and repeat the process on your head’s other side.
This exercise can help alleviate neck pain and back pain by counterbalancing the downward or forward head position. It requires you to pull your shoulders down and back repetitively, reducing pain and improving neck mobility. Start by sitting on a chair or standing in a neutral position with your mouth closed and teeth touching. Look up to the ceiling, pause, allow your jaw to relax, and open your mouth. Bring your head back around an inch or two, and keep your head in that position while closing your mouth. It’s best to do this movement once or thrice per session.
You can also consult with a chiropractor and receive the proper exercise recommendations to alleviate neck and back pain caused by different conditions, allowing you to de-stress and reduce discomfort.
Benefits of Neck Exercises
When your neck and back muscles start to become weakened, elongated, or tightened, it can lead to poor posture that places more stress or pressure on your cervical spine’s facet joints, intervertebral discs, ligaments, and muscles. These pressures can lead to recurrent neck and back pain, alongside stiff joints and headaches. Luckily simple exercises can alleviate these symptoms.
Here are several benefits of practicing neck exercises daily.
- Improve Range of Motion – Flexibility and stretching exercises can enhance or maintain the ideal range of motion and elasticity in your affected neck joints, relieving stiffness. Practicing neck exercises every day can provide long-term relief while improving your spine’s overall health.
- Improve Posture – Neck strengthening exercises can also enhance or maintain proper posture, reducing or even eliminating recurrent flare-ups of pain on your back and neck. Practicing these strengthening workouts every other day provides your muscles with more time to repair themselves, improving overall health.
- Ease Pain – Aerobic exercises revolve around by having steady oxygen intake, keeping your heart rate, and breathing elevated for the entire duration. This factor increases the blood flow to your back and neck’s soft tissues and muscles, helping to loosen the muscles, increasing range of motion, and reducing pain.
How to Prevent Neck and Back Pain
Although the most recommended remedy to prevent soreness on the neck and back is by maintaining the right posture, it doesn’t always work for everyone. That’s because every person’s anatomy is different, so there’s no single ideal position.
However, following these pointers can prevent the onset of pain for most individuals.
- Avoid Leaning Your Chin Forward – Many people tend to thrust their heads forward when walking, sitting, watching television, talking, or using their phones. These place tremendous pressure on your neck, leading to sharp pain. So, it’s best not to ‘lead’ with your chin.
- Start Working at Elevated Levels – If you work at a desk job or require you to sit down for an extended period, ‘elevating’ your work level is ideal. You can do this by raising your desktops or laptops on a higher place to alleviate pressure on the spine, reducing neck and back pain.
- Provide Support to Your Lower Back – A person’s neck doesn’t exist in isolation because the force exerted by your head’s weight gets distributed throughout the spine. That’s why supporting your lower back also relieves pressure on the cervical vertebrae.
However, if you’ve been religiously practicing neck exercises and have done every preventive measure possible, but the pain doesn’t seem to be going away, it’s time for you to consult with a professional. Chiropractors are ideal healthcare professionals that can help deal with your back or neck pain since these two revolve around the spine.
Chiropractors can help by incorporating various chiropractic techniques such as spinal adjustments to ease the pain while improving your spine’s overall health and well-being. One of the most trusted names in the industry is Dr. Caroline Herring. She’s been in practice for seven years and has been helping individuals get back to their best versions of themselves by easing pain, treating their ailments, and improving their overall well-being.
Dr. Caroline Herring and the Herring Chiropractic Clinic can help address your pain’s root cause and not just the symptoms. They believe that education is a significant part of anyone’s success.
If you want the best care possible while learning along the process, Dr. Caroline Herring has got your ‘back.’
Book an appointment with Dr. Caroline Herring today or visit her at Herring Chiropractic Clinic to get the care you deserve.