Importance of daily neck stretches

In my assessments of patients I often find that they have lost normal ranges of movement without realising it.

Our sedentary lifestyle breeds movement dysfunction and poor postural habits. Rounded shoulders and forward weight of the head increases tension in the neck and upper back. The constant flexed forward posture leads to increased stiffness and tightness in the joints of the neck and leads to the onset of osteoarthritis, a condition that occurs very slowly and usually without symptoms until it’s too late. The old adage, “If you don't use it, you lose it” rings true. We generally understand that exercise is good for us, but even this doesn’t guarantee that degeneration won’t occur unless we also have a regime of daily stretches.

Neck Range of Motion exercises: These exercises/stretches can be done anytime and anywhere. The more often you can do them the better the long term outcome. Keeping your head straight and upright turn to your left, so that your chin approaches your left shoulder. Turn as far as you can comfortably, and then try to stretch a little further. Hold in this position for a few seconds and then repeat on the other side. Do a set of six and repeat three times/day.

Next keeping your eyes facing forward, tilt your left ear to your left shoulder. If seated, use your right hand to hold the chair, so as to keep your right shoulder from moving. If standing or on the move, push your right elbow into your side to lock the right shoulder in place and stretch as described. Then repeat on the other side. Hold in each position for a few seconds. Do a set of six and repeat three times/day.

This week’s ideal referral is tradespeople like builders, carpenters, plumbers and electricians who spend their day bent over in awkward positions or who have to lift & carry loads that are bigger than they should. This usually results in low and mid back pain which can benefit from Chiropractic care. Does this sound like someone you know?