Research has shown that people with recurrent neck pain have poor control over their deep stabilising neck muscles. This is just like weak ‘core muscles’ which have shown to be an issue with lower back pain.
These neck muscles are important for good neck control and allow you to maintain good alignment without placing unnecessary stress on the joints, discs or nerves. These muscles can become weak in the presence of persistent pain or after injury. As a result, normal daily activities can cause your neck to take on more force than normal which can lead to further irritation of already painful tissues such as muscles, joints, discs and nerves. This creates a vicious cycle of re-aggravation and this is often why neck pain can persist or return after it has settled.
Below is an exercise you can try at home to see if you have weak neck muscles:
1. Go on your hands and knees and place your wrists directly under your shoulders, and knees directly under your hips.
2. Flatten your spine so that it is relatively straight and hold.
3. Position your head so that your face is parallel to the ground.
4. You should be positioned so that if a 1m ruler was lying along your spine, it would touch your bottom, upper back and the back of your head.
Hold for 1 minute. If you feel like your head has dropped, there is a likely weakness in your deep neck stabilisers.
At the Physio Clinic, we are able to formally assess your neck muscle strength & endurance using a bio-pressure feedback tool that will inform you whether you have poor muscle control or neck endurance. We will then be able to give you a specific exercises tailored to what you need to work on. Retraining these muscles is often the missing link in how people normally manage their neck pain and the scientific research proves that addressing them with specific exercises can lead to significant and long term results.
For more information or to making a booking, call The Physio Clinic on 8342 1233
Prospect | Findon | Blackwood | Burnside Hospital