Category Archives for "Neck Pain"

Nerve Flossing – Radial Nerve Bias

We’re going to do an exercise today that involves flossing the nerve, or a nerve flossing technique which has a radial nerve bias. This exercise is great for increasing the mobility in your upper quadrant like your neck and upper extremities due to chronic neck stiffness. You might be stiff from a past history of having a wry neck from sleeping, to whip lash from a car accident or a sports injury. It’s not recommended to do this exercise when you have an acute injury. If you have pain consult your physiotherapist before doing these exercises. So we have the lovely Hannah here, standing nice and tall to demo for us. Begin by extending the shoulder and arm with the elbow straight behind you while flexing the wrist and the hand out to receive a “low - five” from behind you. Return the arm and hand back to neutral position by the side and repeat this for up to thirty seconds when you initially start to get the hang of it and then increasing it to sixty seconds. Do five repetitions each time three times per day. The progression of this exercise involves the rotation of the head and neck to the opposite side first and then reaching back with the arm and hand for the “low-five” and then return the head and arm and hand back to the neutral start position. Do this for sixty seconds for five repetitions three times per day.

Chronic Neck Pain & Shoulder Tightness: Median Nerve Flossing

Begin by placing your left hand on your right shoulder & look away to the opposite side. Abduct the shoulder to 90 degrees and together extend the elbow, wrist and fingers fully. Then turn your head to the right side and release the whole right upper extremity by flexing the fingers, wrist and elbow together. Repeat this again by looking to the opposite side and extending the entire right upper extremity again. Do this for 60 seconds for 3 sets 3 times per day. This exercise is great for mobilizing the connective tissue supporting the nerves in the right upper extremity if you have no acute neurological symptoms. Chronic stiff and tight neck-related upper extremities can be caused by postural dysfunctions (or chronic poor posture), previous whiplash from car accidents, sports traumas or repetitive strain injures to the shoulders, arms, hands or neck.

Chronic Neck, Shoulder, Elbow Pain or Stiffness: Ulnar Nerve Flossing

We’re going to do an exercise today that involves flossing the nerve, or a nerve flossing technique which has a radial nerve bias. This exercise is great for increasing the mobility in your upper quadrant like your neck and upper extremities due to chronic neck stiffness. You might be stiff from a past history of having a wry neck from sleeping, to whip lash from a car accident or a sports injury. It’s not recommended to do this exercise when you have an acute injury. If you have pain consult your physiotherapist before doing these exercises. So we have the lovely Hannah here, standing nice and tall to demo for us. Begin by extending the shoulder and arm with the elbow straight behind you while flexing the wrist and the hand out to receive a “low - five” from behind you. Return the arm and hand back to neutral position by the side and repeat this for up to thirty seconds when you initially start to get the hang of it and then increasing it to sixty seconds. Do five repetitions each time three times per day. The progression of this exercise involves the rotation of the head and neck to the opposite side first and then reaching back with the arm and hand for the “low-five” and then return the head and arm and hand back to the neutral start position. Do this for sixty seconds for five repetitions three times per day.

Neck Extension Mobility “SNAG”

Today’s exercise will give you a pain-free way to regain mobility in your neck, particularly in neck extension (looking up). The goal of this exercise is to allow you to either maintain the mobility in your neck after you see your physiotherapist or when you find that the extension motion is limited. 1) Find the right spot. Locate the fold in the bottom of your neck when you look up. 2) Use the edge of an unrolled towel pulling towards the direction of your eyes. 3) This exercise has to be 100% pain-free so maintain the direction of pull with your towel during the motion. 4) Start by pulling the towel towards the level of your eyes. Sustain this pull and look up. 5) Complete this 3 times for 3-5 second holds daily. Remember, you should feel NO PAIN during this exercise. If you find it painful, try modifying the angle of pull to find a pain-free zone. If you cannot find a pain-free zone, then do not perform this exercise and contact your treating therapist. 

Neck Rotation Mobility “SNAG”

Today’s exercise will allow you to maintain mobility in your neck after treatment or regain your neck rotation range of motion. This exercise is a pain-free way to mobilize your neck. If you have any pain with rotation, especially at the end of your range of motion, this will be very helpful. This exercise can also be helpful in cases of cervicogenic headaches. 1) Find where the hairline ends to locate a noticeable “bump” or point on your neck. This is your C2 spinous process spot. 2) Place the edge of an unrolled towel over that point. 3) This exercise has to be 100% pain-free. If it is not, then the direction of your pull is slightly off or this exercise is not suitable for you so consult with your therapist before starting this exercise. 4) Cross your hands over, making sure the top hand is the same side of the direction you want to rotate towards. 5) If you are turning to the LEFT side, the RIGHT arm will pull the towel DOWNWARDS towards the middle of your chest and the LEFT arm will pull the towel roughly towards your LEFT eye. 6) To avoid losing contact with the towel, make sure it covers your face at all times. 7) Complete a pain-free rotation with a sustained towel pull, hold it at the end of the rotation for 3 seconds and return to your starting point. 8) Complete this exercise 3 times per day towards the direction of restriction.

Upper Fibre Trap Stretches

This stretch is for your uppers traps. You’re going to start by placing your hand firmly on the chair and the other hand above your ear on your head and you’re going to lean away holding onto the chair and looking down to the floor on the right side, the side that you are stretching. You’re going to hold this stretch for 30 seconds and do three sets and you’ll feel that right on the upper traps.

Levator Scapula Stretch

Start by reaching your hand down your spine while pointing the elbow to the ceiling. Bring your left hand over the head by the base of the skull. Next, look down and away from the right side and gently pull the right ear away from the right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds 3 sets. This stretch is great to increase the mobility of the neck for Whip lash injuries sustained from motor vehicle accidents or sports injuries, or tight and imbalanced muscles in the shoulder complex. 

Neck Core Stability Strength

This exercise strengthens core stability muscles of the neck. Lying down with your knees bent place a small towel behind the arch of the neck. Next, press the tip of the tongue up against the roof of the mouth and do a chin nod. It will feel like you are giving your self a double chin. Then pivoting off the towel, slightly lift the head off the mat while keeping the lower back flat. Next, bring your arms up while keeping the chin nod engaged and the lower back flat. With your fists shoulder width apart slowly bring them apart even more for another for 5 seconds and then take 5 seconds to slowly bring them back up to the start position again. Do 15 repetitions of this for 3 sets. This is great for neck injuries such as whiplash, acute and chronic neck strains and headaches caused from neck injuries.

Sitting Cat Stretch

This exercise stretches the upper back and rhomboid muscles as well as to increase mobility in the shoulder blades & upper back. Begin by engaging your inner core stability below your belly button. Then keeping the head up and chin slightly tucked, clasp your fingers together and reach forward and slight down arching the upper back. Hold for 30 secs, repeat 3 sets 3-4 times daily. This stretch is great to do if you are sitting down on your computer working all day, standing or doing a lot of repetitive lifting where your shoulders, upper back and neck are tight, stiff and sore.

Cat Stretch

This is the cat stretch for mid back. Start on your hands and knees both shoulder width apart. Keep your head up and your chin gently tucked with your inner core engaged below the belly button. If you have wrist pain then alternatively, you can go on your fists to support your body weight. Then arch your mid back towards the ceiling like a cat making your shoulder blades wide! Hold for 30 seconds and do 3 sets twice per day. This exercise is great for increasing mobility in the upper back, neck, stretching the Rhomboids and muscles of the neck & spine after injuries such as whiplash, neck, shoulder and mid and low back strains.