Neck Pain: 3 Things That Can Help You Manage Your Symptoms

Every day, we get to see people in our office that have been suffering from neck pain and stiffness for months or even years! Many people believe they have to live with their symptoms because they have tried things in the past that didn’t work or were told there was nothing that could be done.

If you or someone you love is living with neck pain, stiffness, and headaches, you know just how much if affects your daily life. It causes you to lose sleep and makes it difficult to do daily activities like driving, reading, or simply doing your job. You may also begin to miss out on plans with your friends and spending time with your family just because you would rather stay home and rest.

We want you to know that there is hope!

We help people that feel like this every single day and we understand how much it can affect you. We want you to get back to enjoying a full night of sleep without waking because of pain, returning to your hobbies, and being able to play with your children and grandchildren again!

We have both experienced neck pain in the past and we are going to share 3 things that we do that have helped us to recover and manage our symptoms.

1. Posture

Our posture does play a role in neck pain, so we want to share with you why. As they are doing more research on Posture, it is being shown that there isn’t necessarily a perfect posture, but one thing we do often find in our patients with neck and back pain is something call Forward Head posture. This can be as a result of sitting for extended periods at a desk. If we stay in this position for too long it can often cause the muscles in the back of the neck to get tight. Ideally, we want to keep our ears over our shoulders, but often in today’s world we often cannot stay in that position due to the nature of our jobs. There are changes you can make to improve your work station set up, but the most important thing to remember is your best posture is the next position you get in. It is important to keep moving and change positions as often as we can.

2. Neck Retractions

Neck Retractions are a great way to help improve the forward head posture. This is a wonderful movement to do throughout the day to help stretch out those muscles that have shorted and tightened up over time.

Check out our video to see how to do them but here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of them:

  • You want to keep your eyes straight ahead and level and the goal is to make a double chin.
  • Do them slowly and hold the stretch position for 3 seconds so that you can really feel it in the back of the upper neck.

3. Cervical CARs

The next exercise that works wonders to relieve pain and decrease stiffness is called Cervical CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations). This one is great because it helps to get our neck moving again like it is supposed to. We have joints in our spine that allow movement to happen at each vertebra. Often, we don’t use all of the motion in our neck, which leads to stiffness and aching. Our joints are provided nutrition and are lubricated by moving the fluid in the joint capsule around.

We typically only use a small amount of the range of motion that is available to us in our joints, and we need to make it a point each day to move them through their entire range to keep them healthy and loose.

We demonstrate how to perform CARs in this video so be sure to watch!

These are only a few of the things that you can begin to use to improve your neck pain, stiffness, and headaches. If you have any questions or want more information, we would love to talk to you!

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Katherine Prevost and Ashley Hornsby

Katherine and Ashley founded Thrive Physical Therapy in 2012 from a shared passion for growth and learning and a sincere desire to help people in their community move more and live better. Building upon their backgrounds in a variety of specialities (including orthopedics, sports rehab, and women's health - just to name a few), Katherine and Ashley have grown the clinic, one patient at a time, to the flourishing practice that it is today.
Katherine Prevost and Ashley Hornsby