What’s Neck Pain?
Hey everybody welcomes to digitals webs, and today I’m going to show you my top 5 ways to reduce neck pain. So before we get started, if you haven’t already, make sure and click on the subscribe button down below, and you can always find me at askdoctorjo.com. We’re gonna start off with some stretches, and then we’ll move into the exercises towards the end.
Exercises For Neck Pain
So the first stretch is an upper trap stretch. A lot of times when you have neck pain, those upper trap muscles really get tight, and they’ll cause more neck pain because they’re they come up all the way up those upper traps and connect to the neck area and then come down into the shoulders. So there are a couple of different ways you can stretch the upper trap. The one I usually show you is where you’re kind of sitting on your hand. Today I’m going to show you it a little bit differently, but if you have some shoulder issues, this might be a little uncomfortable so do which one is more comfortable for you. This time you’re just going to place your hand behind your back. so my hands just kind of in the middle of my lower back and my elbows to the side right here. so I’m keeping it close to my body. This is the side I want to stretch.
I’m gonna take my other hand and bring it up and over almost where I’m touching the top of my ear. Then I’m gonna gently pull my ear over towards that side keeping my shoulder down low getting that stretch right through here. And you’re gonna hold those stretches for 30 seconds. if you want more of a stretch, take the elbow on that side and pull downwards towards the floor, or if you’re sitting in a chair down towards the chair, and that’ll give you that extra stretch in there. Thirty seconds doing that 3 times on each side. But remember with a stretch you don’t want it to be painful, you want it to be tension where it’s that hurt so good feeling.
levator Scapulae Stretch
So then the next stretch is going to be the levator scapulae stretch and that levator SCAP muscle is the one that elevates our lifts up our shoulder blades. And so a lot of times when we’re holding stress, we overwork that muscle and it tightens and we kind of sit up in this position, and that can cause a lot of neck pain because that muscle again goes all the way up into that cervical spine or that neck area and can put a lot of pain and stress on that area. So the way to stretch that one out is this one’s going to be a little bit differently, so again you’re going to use your arm but this time it’s going to go up.
You can either just raise your arm, or I like to kind of put it back this way where my elbow is kind of pointing up towards the ceiling. So I’d be stretching this side now. You’re putting the arm up or the elbow up on the side that you want to stretch and all this does is this kind of pushes that shoulder blade down, and so that helps keep it down to get a better stretch. So again if this is uncomfortable for your shoulder, you don’t have to do that part, but you’re gonna get a little bit better stretch if you can do it Because the shoulder blade holds down as you stretch out.
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The important part of this stretch is you’re not bringing your head down you’re not bringing it over to the side like for that upper trap stretch but you’re bringing it down kind of an angle where you want your nose to be at about a 45-degree angle towards your opposite knee. So it’s not down and then this way, it’s turning your head kind of rotating it and then coming down. So elbow up, nose towards the opposite knee, hand up, and over behind the head. And then you’re pulling down and you should feel that stretch in that upper neck area, that levator scapulae muscle that goes through there and it goes all the way down to that shoulder blade.
So again you’re getting that nice stretch in there, holding it for 30 seconds, coming back up, three times on each side because if you’re having neck pain, even if the neck pain is on one side, if you have the time I’d really recommend stretching both sides because that’s really just gonna loosen up that whole neck area.
Heat Or Cold Therapy
So another great way to relieve that neck pain or reduce that neck pain is to use heat or cold therapy, and the folks at bio-med DB Design LLC sent me their sunny Bay hands-free neck wrap. So what I really like about using heat therapy and cold therapy is, the general rule if you’re doing stretches and exercises is to use heat before to help loosen up the muscles and then the cold therapy afterward.
After you’ve gotten everything excited and working use that cold therapy to cool it back down. So what I really like about their wraps is you can use heat therapy with it, and you can use cold therapy with it.
You can heat it up in the microwave and then afterward you can put it in the freezer and cool it back down to the cold therapy. They’ve also changed their design a little bit. you might have seen me talk about these in the past, but they added an elastic band here which is really nice because it helps just hold the wrap on your neck a little bit better.
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So once you get that band in you can really move around you know I can bend my head I can turn to the side and it’s not gonna fall off. It makes it really functional where you can go about and do your things, but you’re still either getting that heat if you need it or if you need that cold afterward you can do that as well.
So it’s really nice also because it’s not plugged in, so you can move around with it on you know sometimes with traditional heating pads you actually have to plug it in and stay in one spot, but you don’t have to do it with that. It also comes in different sizes in different colors. They have an extra-large version, so if you need a little bit more length on the wrap around you have that option as well and it also has that elastic band so it’s really nice.
They use you know all-natural products on the inside so it’s you know sometimes flax seeds sometimes it’s lavender, and so they use different kinds with that as well. so if you’re interested in purchasing their product, make sure and click on the link up there.
Some Important Exercises That can give you neck pain relief
So now we’re going to go into some exercises. Once you’ve gotten everything stretched out, warm it up first, get it stretched out, then you want to go into the exercises. So one of my favorite exercises if you’ve seen some of my videos for neck pains is chin tucks.
A chin tuck is really great because it’s kind of a stretch and an exercise combined together, but it’s a great way to help get you back in good posture. A lot of times with neck pain comes from people like this either at their computer or if they’re focusing on something they really bring that head forward, and that puts a lot of stress on the neck causing pain.
So a chin tuck is super simple. You’ve probably seen in some of my videos where you use my finger as a target. You don’t have to do that. The great thing about a chin tuck is you can do it anywhere, it is super easy.
People might look at you a little funny when you’re doing it, but it’s easy to do. So all you’re doing is just like it sounds you’re tucking your chin back and in, but it’s not down towards your chest. so you’re just taking your chin keeping it level, you want to keep your head level, you’re not coming own or not coming up, but you’re just bringing your head in almost you know if you have a wall or meeting behind you your chair behind you just try and push your head into the wall or the chair. You see you have lots of little chins right there.
So you just want to hold that position. You might feel some tightness in the back, you might feel some tightness in the front as well, and hold that for about 3 to 5 seconds, and then relax. You can do those 5 times. you can do them several times throughout the day, but again you’re just taking that chin tucking it in, and getting that you’re working the muscles and you’re stretching the muscles at the same time.
So it’s a really great exercise combination stretch to really kind of reset everything. and a lot of times just doing two or three you can already feel that you’re kind of back in that upright position. your head’s not forward so much, so I really like that exercise.
The last one is just another super simple one that you can do all the time which is going to be an isometric exercise. A lot of time with isometric exercises, if your neck is a little bit out of alignment or needs something like a pop, doing an isometric exercise not only helps strengthen it but sometimes it will help adjust your neck as well. So the one that I’m going to do for you today and you can follow along with me is a side bent isometric exercise.
But what isometric exercises are is you’re contracting the muscle but you’re not really moving the muscle, so if you’re having a lot of pain you can tighten it up. you can exercise it but you’re not moving to a position that might be painful or uncomfortable right now. So the motion you’re gonna be doing is this way. Keeping your shoulders down your head going over, but your head’s not actually gonna move. You’re gonna place your hand on the side of your forehead here on your temple area, and then you’re just gonna push into your hands.
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To see my head’s not moving you might see it move just a little bit, but all I’m doing is I’m activating these muscles over here on this site. When you first do this, just hold it for about three to five seconds, but don’t push as hard as you can to start off with because it might be a little uncomfortable. Maybe do thirty to forty percent of as hard as you think you can push.
So swing over to the side this is the motion I’m doing but I’m not going anywhere. I’m pushing into my hand and then I like to go back and forth on each side instead of doing them all on one side. I just like to alternate back and forth just to give the muscle a little bit of a break. So that 3 to 5-second hold maybe doing 5 on each side and that should really again not only help strengthen the muscle it might help get you back into alignment a little bit and just get that neck pain out of there in general. So there you have it, those are my top 5 ways to reduce neck pain. If you’d like to purchase the sunny baton neck wrap hands-free, make sure and click up.