Neck & Shoulder Mobilization and Stability Program
Rehabilitation of any area of the body starts with a proper diagnosis of a condition and ensuring the exercises are the correct ones for a particular set of symptoms, body type and person. That is why the exercises in this section should only be used once you have been properly evaluated and given the go ahead by myself for your condition.
Neck pain is often associated with poor posture of the upper body, therefore it is best to perform exercises daily and others hourly. Whereas, some postures are intended to be used always.
All of my active rehabilitation programs follow what I refer to as the ABCC's of Rehabilitation:
Activation - Activating the muscles (or area) that you are intending on rehabilitating.
Breathing and Bracing - During times of stress, after trauma, or chronically poor movement patterns will cause you to breath with your neck and upper chest which is inefficient and results in further damage to the cervical spine. Proper breathing is a combination of having the diaphragm perform what it needs to do, not your neck, while being able to brace the trunk and abdominal region with the muscles that should be doing the work. When breathing, it is best to ensure you feel the bottom ribs opening up and your stomach slightly expanding, while your abdominal muscles and gently tightened. See some exercises below
Centration - Ensure that your shoulder girdle, neck and head as well as jaw are in their proper position means that all joints are centrated, or placed in the ideal location so that the muscles pulling at the joints are creating equal pressures and stability is maintained. Once the body starts to move, all tissues are loaded properly and unnecessary strain is not being placed on any tissues.
Coordination - Coordinating muscle activation with movement can be a great challenge, especially once an area has been injured or poor posture has changed the way you understand what normal is. To ensure that you are getting the most our of your rehabilitation program, you must start slow and develop good control of small movements prior to increasing loads and developing more complex and larger movements.
GOALS OF THIS NECK MOBILIZATION AND STABILIZATION PROGRAM
- To improve the static (resting) and dynamic (movement) postures of the cervical spine, trunk and upper extremity (UE).
- To improve resting posture and ability for a person to breath properly at rest and during activities.
- To improve Eye-Head-Neck-UE co-ordination.
- To improve the strength, stability and endurance of the cervical spine stabilizers.
- To improve the strength, stability and endurance of the UE and shoulder stabilizers.
Some of the exercises and postural movements below are only part of the Neck Mobilization and Stabilization program that I use with my patients and are in no way to substitute a proper evaluation and treatment plan. Each patient is an individual and specific exercises are to be used for specific conditions.
Proper Posture at your Desk is key, here are some Do's and Don'ts
Taking micro-breaks every 10-15 minutes is ideal. If you cannot get out of your chair, try and change your position, or even do a stretch.
Improving the Range of Motion in the Thoracic Spine is key. Here is a great set of stretches and active warm ups when you are doing upper body workouts or are having issues with your neck and shoulder regions.
A great break from sitting. To be done on an hourly basis when at a desk or sitting for prolonged periods of time.
If you wish to really improve the range of motion in your upper back which will help with your neck and shoulder condition, perform this as often as you can. Make sure the floor is soft on your knees and if you feel any cramping on your feet, come out of the position and then go back in. Remember, this position should be painless, everywhere. If you are experiencing any pain while doing this, feel free to contact me.
Thoracic Spinal Rotations
If you are good with performing the Sphinx, move on the spinal rotation which will help improve the range of motion in your mid back and shoulders, while strengthening the stabilizers of your shoulder girdle. If you feel any pain with this, feel free to contact me at your convenience.
Shoulder Mobility on Floor with Towel
Often the issue with creating good stability withing the neck and shoulder regions is the inability to hold your shoulder blades in place. This exercise not only gets your muscles working properly it also opens up your chest in order to improve your posture.
Chin Tuck - Deep Neck Stabilizers
Many of the muscles of the neck that stabilize the cervical spine become weak with poor posture and trauma. Strengthening these muscles can help decrease neck and shoulder pain.