Advice for neck pain from chiropractors, written by Meriel Davies at Back 2 Balance, associate chiropractor at their Brighton and Hove clinic.

Many times we chiropractors get asked for tips and advice with helping neck pain. Here, at Back 2 Balance, we feel that prevention and knowledge is better than waiting for a problem to develop. “Forearmed is forewarned”.

One of the most important ways to ensure cervical spine optimal function (asides from chiropractic!) is to maintain strength, alignment and flexibility. This can easily be done with some stretching and strengthening exercises.

Neck Stretches

Flexibility and stretching exercises can improve the range of motion and elasticity in cervical spine joints, and thus relieve the stiffness that leads to pain. As a general rule, stretching is best done everyday, and some stretches should be done several times a day. This is the most common bit of homework we give our chiropractic clients for their neck pain.

If you’re a desk worker (like most people) frequent breaks from the desk helps. Bending the head from left to right is an easy stretching exercise (pulling the head with the hand). Also looking to the left and right turning the head as far as you can is an easy one which helps improve flexibility. Tucking the chin in as far as you can and then moving the neck forward as far as you can (aka the ‘funky chicken’) is an excellent way to maintain neck flexibility.

Neck Strengthening

Specific strengthening exercises will help maintain improved posture, which in turn will lessen or eliminate recurrent flare-ups. As a general rule, strengthening exercises should be done every other day to allow muscles time to repair themselves.

The best neck strengthening exercises are actually those which strengthen the upper back. For example holding the shoulders back and down. Keeping the chin tucked in and generally avoiding a slouching type posture which weakens neck muscles. One of the best exercises for the neck is in fact the wall angel.

Start by standing against a wall with your back completely against it. every part of your spine should be touching the wall. (if you can’t achieve this, especially in the low back area – just get as close to the wall as you can. Bring your arms out to your sides and then bend 90 degrees at the elbow. Then whilst maintain the back, head and arms against the wall (with the arms bent) move the arms up and down against the wall (imitation of a snow angel). You should feel this working your mid back.

We would love to hear from you guys about what you find helps you with your neck pain. Do any of you use some of the tips detailed above?

For further reading click here to read about sitting posture and desk ergonomics.