One of common work injuries is caused by neck bending. Your work may have you bend your neck for long periods of time. We may feel fine doing this for years, one day to find tightness and achiness in the neck and back and wonder where it came from. Frequent culprits are poor posture when working, reading, using the computer, or using a cell phone.
When you bend your neck, muscles in the posterior of the neck work to keep your head from falling forward. Combined with gravity, this muscle work increases pressure on the neck. This is tolerable for a short period of time, but when looking down for long periods the muscles fatigue.
Taking frequent breaks and keeping your reading material at eye level reduce strain on your neck and gives muscles time to relax. Stretches that bring the neck back and improve the natural neck and back curves, called a lordosis, can help reduce symptoms and improve function. One example is called Brugger’s stretch. To perform Brugger’s stretch, sit in a chair with your legs comfortably spread apart and your feet flat on the ground. Pull your shoulder back and down as if your shoulder blades are coming together. Lift your chest to the ceiling, increasing your low back curve. Let your chin tilt slightly upward and hold this position for a few seconds at a time.
If you have a stiff neck and would like to learn how to improve neck range of motion, watch one of our videos on neck exercises. A Chiropractor can prescribe a treatment plan and neck exercise program to help relieve pain and symptoms related to prolonged neck bending.
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