Neck pain is one of the most common causes of chronic pain and according to the American Osteopathic Association, more than 25% of Americans report being affected by pain in their neck or upper back.
Strengthening your back, core and neck muscles can help you find relief from neck pain, recover from a neck injury or prevent one in the future. Although exercise may seem out of the question after an injury or if you’re in pain, there are many low-impact exercises that can help.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground and hip-width apart. Lift your hips off the ground and squeeze your buttocks as you lift. With hips off the ground, create a straight line from your knees through your shoulders. Hold for a slow count of two; complete 10-12 repetitions.
Get onto the floor on all fours, with your knees hip-width apart and hands flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Keep your core tight and spine flat. Extend your right leg back and left arm straight ahead. Hold this position for two to three seconds; repeat fix to six times on each side.
Knee to Chest
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground and hip-width apart. Bring one knee to your chest while keeping the other foot flat on the floor. Your lower back should stay pressed on the floor. Hold your knee toward your chest for 15 to 20 seconds, then lower it back down. Repeat the movement with your other leg. Do this five times for each leg.
Stretching can also help in eliminating neck pain. Below are two ways to stretch your neck:
Stand next to a wall and using the arm closest to the wall, raise it above the shoulder on the side to stretch. Turn your head away from the side that is stretching and then bring your chin down. You should feel a stretch in the back of the neck. You can also gently pull your head forward with your other head to increase this stretch. Hold the position for about 30 seconds.
For a seated neck release, sit on the floor in a cross-legged position. Extend your right arm next to your right knee. Place your left hand on top of your head and slowly tilt your head to the left. Apple gentle pressure to increase the stretch.
Physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation could also help in recovering from your neck injury. It’s important to talk with your doctor about your limitations as well so you do not exacerbate the issue. An experienced chiropractor can actually provide you with an exercise regimen, provide massage therapy and help you heal so you can get back to your normal exercise routine.