Neck pain as we age is a real pain… It is exhausting. You feel like you are just living to work, because you can not do anything else after work due to the pain taking all the energy out of you.
You just want to come home and find a comfortable position. Or go to bed due to the exhaustion.
Spending time with your friends or family is out of the question.
Sometimes sleeping is the worse. You will wake up at 3 am due to the pain and have a hard time finding a comfortable position.
You want to workout but are fearful of making it worse..
Does this sound familiar??
It is so common and we see this all the time…
What Causes Neck Pain as we Age?
There are a lot of common causes to Neck Pain. But here are 2 causes of neck pain we will talk about today! Often times the doctors will talk about arthritis being the cause of our pain as we age, and I am here to tell you this is not always true! Continue reading to learn more….
One major cause to neck pain is looking down while on our cell phone. Look around and everyone is on their phone looking down for hours everyday. Have you recently checked how many hours you are on your cell phone in a day? This is a problem.
I like to use the finger analogy. If you pull you finger back 5-6 hours a day every day and this goes on for years, our joints do not like to be in that position and eventually produces changes within the joint causing pain.
It is similar to the neck. looking down on the phone, at the computer as you are slouching, cleaning the house- you get the point. We are bending and looking down 3000-4000 times a day! We need to offset the motion that we are constantly putting out joints in!
Another cause to neck pain is that fact that we lead a sendentary lifestyle. We are in front of a computer hours out of the day and never get up to move around or going for a walking, doing yoga, going to the gym.
You see our joints love motion. Motion is lotions and we need to move the joints and not keep them in static postures.
These are the 2 biggest causes to having neck pain as we age!
What are the Common Solutions you find for Neck Pain exercises that DO NOT WORK?
The biggest mistake I see with neck pain is the clients often think the tightness needs to be worked out with a massage or with Neck stretches by tilting the head to the side to stretch the muscle.
The problem with this Neck Pain exercise is that the muscle is a symptom of the problem which is why after a massage you get some relief, but the pain returns without hours or a few days.
Stretching the muscle has the same problem. When you are stretching your muscles in your neck by moving the head to the side and putting pressure on your head to get a bigger stretch, you might get relief for a minute but the tightness returns quickly. You are just treating a symptom!
So if you are doing this Neck pain Exercise, then read on to learn solutions that will work and why they will work!
While is hard to come up with an exact plan for you because it truly does take an evaluation by and expert in the physical therapy field to figure out where on the spine is a problem (upper neck, mid neck or lower neck). Since the neck has a lot of more different motions, each section of the neck moves a little different. For example, the upper neck extends while the lower neck flexes in the same motion when moving the head closer to see something in the mirror or computer screen.
Hence why you may need an evaluation, but here are my top tips I share with my clients who have neck pain. But I wanted to give you some of my Top Tips for Neck Pain Exercises.
Here are my 4 TOP TIPS for Neck Pain Exercises.
TIP #1 Posture- don’t bend forward
Like I said before, we do 3,000- 4,000 bending forward throughout 1 day. We sit and look down at the computer, we are bending why checking out our phone. We are bending when we cook. We are constantly bending forward. So being aware of your posture is a big deal. Keeping the spine in its true resting position will keep the spine healthy.
So tip # 1 for Neck Pain Exercises is to keep the spine in a good position and limit the bending forward.
Pull the phone up to eye level to text. All you have to do is put one arm horizontal to the body and extend the wrist upward and place the other arm on top of the wrist and hold the phone parallel to your face! It is a great tip on keep your head in a better posture!
While this is not an exercises- limiting the motion of looking down will significantly improve your pain in your neck. it is like having a scratch on your arm. If you keep scratching it, you will have pain. So lets take that analogy to looking down. If that is creating your pain, it would be the same as scratching a wound. You will not heal!
TIP #2 for Neck Pain Exercises is to Use a lumbar roll while sitting
If you have a sitting job, it is best to use a lumbar roll while sitting. This is a roll you can place in the arch of your back.
Have you ever noticed that when you slouch your head comes forward? Give it a try and have the mirror next to you. Well, if you sit up with a slight arch in the back (which is the normal resting position for the spine), your shoulders drop back and your head is over your shoulders.
This is why using a lumbar roll will help. Because you can maintain this posture in a relaxed position. You will not be able to hold this position all day. No one can do this day in and day out. Keeping the spine in a good posture while working will help keep your neck and spine feeling better throughout the day!
TIP #3 for Neck Pain Exercises is to move the neck into retraction
What does that mean? Well Like I said we look down 3000-4000 times a day and we need to off set that motion. Our joints like to move and if we move primarily in one direction (looking down) , this creates an imbalance in our joints which create problems. It is like taking the same path in your yard. eventially it kills the grass and you can see a path. But if you are walking in different areas in the grass you will not see the trails/paths you create. It does not kill the grass.
The same goes for our joints. You do not want to move only in one way creating a path in our joints. We are meant to move in a lot of different directions. So what is the neck pain exercise to help offset the bending forward movement? Well it is called neck retractions.
All you do is to sit up in a good position and you move your neck straight back like someone is coming in for a kiss and you are avoiding it! Yes that is the correct movement. This actually starts extending the lower cervical spine backwards off setting the forward bending motion. Do this neck exercise 8-10 times 3-4 x a day! And you will start to notice your neck and shoulder pain will start to reduce!
TIP #4 for Neck Pain Exercises is to Find a Specialist
I do not know how many patients who were told they had a shoulder problem and the problem was really coming from their neck. Or you get a massage and think that will help for your pain to return within hours. So often we treat the symptoms and never really get to the source of the problem.
Because the neck moves in so many different ways, it is not always a simple answer as to this is the one thing you can do to help improve your symptoms.
We can have a combo of movements in neck exercises that help.
For example, you can have an upper neck issue and a lower neck issue. And the way we do neck exercises for the specific joint can change based on the location of the problem.
It really does take spending time to learning more about what is going on and when it hurts and does not hurt and putting you through a thorough evaluation to figure it out. It is why finding a specialist like our office will really help to get you out of the exhaustion of pain way faster and without having surgery, or taking medications.
Either way we have several options for your to continue your learning on how to relieve neck pain as we age.…
If you would like to speak to one of our specialists to discover more on what you might be doing wrong, why your are not getting better, the source of your neck and shoulder pain, and to get all your questions answered, then you want to arrange to TALK to OUR NECK PAIN SPECIALIST for FREE. Do not delay in arranging your TALKING with a NECK PAIN SPECIALIST as we have limited spots each week for these appointments.
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