This is Dr. David at El Paso Manual Physical Therapy.
I wanted to talk to you all about this quick and simple neck pain fix that could really help out if you’ve got neck spasms, stiff, achy neck joints, even neck arthritis.
If you’re thinking of taking pain medication right now, this could help you avoid taking that painkiller, Ibuprofen or Tylenol. The medications that have serious side effects for your liver and other organs as well.
But anyways, I had a client that came in this morning. She emailed us last night and had a severe flare-up in her neck.
She’s in her 40s, has 3 kids and is a student right now. She’s going back to school to study nursing, so she’s been spending a lot of time in books and on the computer. To make matters worse, it’s finals time right now.
I had seen her months back for a neck problem, back around the holidays so it’s been four or five months, something like that and she emailed us saying, “My neck is stiff, I can’t focus, I can’t concentrate. I can only turn this far and this far, what do I do?”
She came in for an appointment and we did our hands-on work and a little bit of exercise stuff that we had to show her.
Real easy gentle things and by the end of the appointment she was able to turn her head all the way. Look up and down, she just had some residual tenderness to get over. It should be over within the next few days.
But, one of the topics that we hung out on for a while was your neck posture whenever she was at the computer or reading books. We had touched on it in previous appointments back when we initially started seeing her but we have a running joke, this client and I, about making a double chin.
And who wouldn’t be?… Because here’s how I coached her to fix her neck posture whenever she’s sitting at the computer, or reading books, or driving is another one as well.
What you do, of course you sit up straight, or stand up straight, if you’re standing. Then you want to tuck the chin down.
So in order to find where exactly you should be, think of making an all-out double chin.
Here is the quick and simple, expert physical therapist tip:
1. Tuck the chin all the way down and into your neck.
2. Create that double chin and what you should feel right here are those neck muscles right behind your throat tightening up. (Those are your deep neck flexors. The muscles that really help to stabilize your neck bones and can prevent them from locking up and prevent some other stuff down the line.)
3. Then back off to about 50 or 25%. Getting to the point where you just barely feel those neck muscles starting to engage.
We call this maneuver a chin tuck.
Tuck your neck down all the way to find out what a 100% chin tuck feels like. Then back off to 25%. That’s about where you should be to keep proper neck posture.
it shouldn’t be tiring, you shouldn’t be fatiguing, you should just feel a little tiny bit of neck muscles, right behind your throat engaging. (Your core neck muscles)
That’s where you want to live to have that good neck posture.
Doing this helps you avoid pinched nerves in the neck, cervical disc issues, neck arthritis -> this is what tends to happen to people that spend lots of time in front of the computer, driving or at a desk. They let that chin stick out like this, they tend to slouch, and there’s no use of the deep neck flexor muscles.
You don’t want to have those big giant neck muscles.
You don’t want to have that one popping out whenever you’re trying to do this maneuver.
No, you want to have the little deep ones behind your throat. You shouldn’t even be able to see them pop out, but you could feel them.
Now realistically are you going to have perfect posture all day long?
No way! It’s not what we’re asking for.
What we want if for you to be in some generally decent posture about 80% of the day.
So if you think about all the time you spend in front of the computer, if you have a desk job.
Or if you’re maybe watching television or even just sitting around talking to people, driving too.
What percentage of that time do you think you’re spending in bad neck posture?
Make sure that you’re neck is a little bit tucked so that you are using those deep neck flexors and you can protect your neck from getting stiff, achy spasming muscles and joints.
Some people never get stiff in their necks, but over time they ruin their cervical discs, develop arthritis in the neck joints and then might have get pain that travels down into the shoulder region and even into the hand as well.
That’s quick and simple neck pain fix from your expert physical therapist!
If you’re dealing with neck pain right now and you’re thinking about taking pain medication, get your neck into a good posture so that you’re not having to take pain medication on a regular basis.
If you have any questions get in touch with us, we’d love to help you out and point you in the right direction.
Thanks and have a wonderful day!