Top 5 Ways to Improve Neck Mobility
Having good neck mobility is essential to doing tasks and living every day life. From driving a car and looking in your blind spot, to turning around to look at something, neck mobility is necessary to complete a variety of tasks. Unfortunately, many people suffer from neck pain and stiffness that can limit their movement and cause them discomfort. However, our necks are designed to rotate. Imagine a radar on top of a tower, this is similar to our sense organs sitting on our neck. Our neck rotates so our eyes can see in different directions. If you have a stiff neck, fortunately there are a few simple exercises that can help improve your neck mobility.
May I tell you a story? Right now, as writing this article, I've got neck stiffness, neck pain and mild headahces at the base of my skull (known as suboccipital headaches). I've had it on and off for about 8 weeks, and I've had two sessions recently with Peter an amazing physio at our Croydon branch (and it's improving). I'm a physio for twenty years, and yet I've got neck pain. and I feel your pain, but we can help at Surrey Physio.
The first step to improving neck mobility is to perform gentle stretching exercises on a daily basis. Neck stretches should focus on lengthening the neck muscles and supporting structures to improve range of motion. Let’s go through some neck stretches and mobility exercises now:
Our Top 5 Ways to Improve Neck Mobility:
Neck Rotations: Rotate your neck slowly to the left by looking over your left shoulder. Take your neck to a comfortable end of range. Repeat to the right. Make sure you keep your shoulder and back relaxed. This is an excellent exercise to improve rotation and mobility in your neck. Repeat ten times each side, and perform this three times per day.
Neck Side-Flexions: Ensuring your nose is pointing forwards, bend your neck as if you were taking your left ear towards your left shoulder. Now repeat to the right. Keep the movement gentle and rhythmical. This exercise will help improve mobility to your neck. Repeat ten times each side, and perform this three times per day.
Posterior Scalene Stretch: Place your fingers in the webbing of your neck (just above the collar bone), and rotate your neck to the opposite side, and tuck your chin down. You will feel the stretch under your fingers at the side of the neck. Hold the stretch, and relax. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and repeat three times each side.
Neck Rotation and Shoulder Stretch: Stand up straight (you can rest your back against a wall if you wish) and place one arm up to 90 degrees. Rotate your neck to the opposite side. You should feel a stretch in the lower side of the neck on the same side you are lifting your arm. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and repeat three times each side.
Ensuring your nose is pointing forwards, bend your neck as if you were taking your left ear towards your left shoulder. To increase the stretch, drop your right shoulder and gently pull your right arm downwards with the opposite hand. You should feel a stretch to the side of your neck, on the side you are pulling your arm. Repeat to the right. This exercise will help improve mobility to your neck. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and repeat three times each side.
Finally, it is important to pay attention to your posture. I'm absolutely certain poor neck and head posture is responsible for the neck pain that I am suffering right now! Poor posture can cause neck pain and stiffness, and can limit your ability to move your neck freely. Make sure your head is in-line with your shoulders, your shoulders are relaxed, and your spine is straight and aligned. Additionally, avoid sleeping in positions that can cause neck stiffness and pain. Avoid repeated neck bending looking at a phone.
Stiff necks are one of the most common problems we see at Surrey Physio. I would estimate we see a hundred or more patients each week who complain about a stiff neck. Start with exercises, but if it does not improve, call us at Surrey Physio. You can improve your neck mobility and reduce neck pain and stiffness. With a little bit of effort and dedication, you can enjoy improved neck mobility and a better quality of life.
(Physios and Therapists: these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises www.rehabmypatient.com. Patients: if you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).