I thought I’d take some time to share the gentle exercises that the Home Physio gave me to help with my ‘global’ joint mobility, starting with the neck exercises. For months, I’d been having particular problems with neck pain, limited movement and weakness in the neck muscles, as well as spasms, twinges and lots of bone crunching and popping, as you can read here. Some of you might be able to empathise, some may have the odd twinge from sitting at a computer, book or craft too long and just want to keep that neck moving…
These exercises have really helped get things back to normal for me, in this area at least: I have a much better range of movement, (can now touch my chin to my chest, look up and turn my head both ways a good amount); there is less tension in the muscles surrounding the neck and so no more neck spasms; the neck feels generally stronger; I haven’t noticed the crunching, grinding noises as much AND there is no significant pain there anymore). Plus, they’re quick and so easy to remember, I was soon going through the routine without having to think.
All good. So, if I can help someone else by passing these on, all the better 🙂
Firstly, it’s always a good idea to warm up muscles that you are going to exercise. I use a heat pack, but placing a warm, dry towel on the area, for a few minutes, will probably do the trick in this case too.
Bend your head forward, putting your chin on, (or as close to as possible) your chest and hold for 2-5 seconds. Repeat 2-5 times.
Tilt your head backwards gently, looking up towards the ceiling or as far as is comfortable and hold for 2-5 seconds. Repeat 2-5 times.
Turn your head to one side until your chin touches your shoulder or you feel the stretch in the muscles running up your neck/shoulders. Stop at this stretch, do not push past it or turn until uncomfortable if you have any restriction. Hold for 2-5 seconds and do the same, turning to the opposite side. Repeat 2-5 times.
Tilt your head to the side until your ear touches your shoulder or you feel the stretch in the neck muscles. Hold for 2-5 seconds and do the same, turning to the opposite side. Repeat 2-5 times.
Sitting / standing as straight as possible, lift your shoulders to your ears in a ‘shrug’ and hold for 3 seconds then relax them completely. Pull your shoulder blades back and together and hold for 3 seconds then relax. Repeat 2-5 times.
Roll your shoulders through a circular, extended ‘shrug’ motion, making 5 circles in the forward direction and repeating five times in a backwards direction to finish.
Breathe a sgh of relief, you’re done!
I set my alarm to do this three times a day and it literally takes 10 minutes.
You can adjust this program to suit your needs – if you do have a particular problem with your neck, you will want to start off slowly, but as time passes you should find you are able to hold for longer or to repeat more times (I’m up to 8 reps now). If your neck is pretty good to start with, but you want to prevent any problems arising through computer use etc, then hold and repeat to your capability. Always remain inside your comfort zone and stop if you feel any pain, fatigue or discomfort – you can always try again later.
Once you have finished these exercises, try and keep the neck and surrounding muscles warm by wearing a high necked top, scarf or towel for half an hour or so. This prevents them from cramping or re-seizing up.
Simple Neck Exercises (The Physiotherapy Site)
Exercises For Neck Arthritis (ARC 4 Life)