Top Neck Pain Exercises: Get Rid Of Neck Pain | Deep Cervical Flexors

By Dr Ken Nakamura+

Get Rid Of Your Neck Pain With These Neck Exercises- Toronto Downtown Chiropractor

Do you have neck pain?  

 

Do you want to know the neck pain exercises that helps according to the research?  

 

In this issue of Bodi Empowerment I show you the neck pain exercises to get rid of that pain in the neck, literally.

 

Research has shown that people like you with neck pain use their larger superficial neck muscles as compared to their deeper neck muscles also called deep neck flexors. [1]-[3]

 

See Also: Top 3 Upper Back Exercises

 

The deep neck flexors are the muscles that aren’t activating via the nerves. Through injury, pain or irritation the nerve going to the muscles sends signals to the muscles to turn it off or inhibit them.

 

See Also: 3 Exercises For Cervical Spine Pain

 

 

Why is the muscle turned off or inhibited by the nerve? One of the reasons is if you  contract that muscle it would give you a painful neck, that’s why.  So by having the muscle work at eg. 1/2 strength you don’t irritate the muscle and thus your neck pain.   What this means is that in order to decrease pain and get more motion back into your neck there are key exercises that can help you. They are the deep neck flexor exercises.

 

For those keeners:

The Deep Cervical Flexors are made up by:

  • Longus Colli
  • Longus Capitus

The superficial Cervical Flexors are made up by:

  • Sternocleidomastoid (SCM)
  • Anterior Scale Muscles

 

Neck Pain Exercises:

Chin Nod: Activating the Deep Cervical Flexors For Neck Pain

Get Rid Of Your Neck Pain With These Neck Exercises- Toronto Downtown Chiropractor-Deep Neck Flexors Chin Nod

  • Lie Face up.
  • Place a small rolled up towel underneath the space of your neck to fill it up.
  • Place one hand covering the sides of your neck as if you are grabbing your own neck. (I didn’t do it in the picture so you can see)
  • Nod your chin ie. bring your chin forward toward your chest making sure you don’t activate those superficial muscles.

 

Careful when doing this exercise

 

If you feel your muscles tighten underneath your hand you are activating the superficial muscles. You shouldn’t feel any muscles tightening under your hands as the muscles you are using are too deep to palpate. You want to only activate the deep neck muscles.

 

Flexion Exercise For Neck Pain

Get Rid Of Your Neck Pain With These Neck Exercises- Toronto Downtown Chiropractor-Deep Neck Flexors-Flexion Exercise

  • Lie face-up.
  • Interlace your fingers behind your head to bring your head up to your chin.
  • Put your hands down at your side.
  • Hold your neck up for as long as you can then let your head come down slowly.

 

Bruegger For Neck Pain

Level 1 For Neck Pain

Get Rid Of Your Neck Pain With These Neck Exercises- Toronto Downtown Chiropractor-Deep Neck Flexors

  • Lie face down.
  • Bring your shoulder blades together and down: Don’t lift your hands off the table.
  • Your head comes off the table with your chin tucked in.

 

Level 2 For Neck Pain

Get Rid Of Your Neck Pain With These Neck Exercises- Toronto Downtown Chiropractor-Deep Neck Flexors

  • Get up on your elbows .
  • Bring your Shoulder blades together and down.
  • Chin tucked with your neck slightly flexed.
  • Extend your neck till your neck is aligned with chin still tucked in.

Level 3 For Neck Pain

Get Rid Of Your Neck Pain With These Neck Exercises- Toronto Downtown Chiropractor-Deep Neck Flexors

  • Lie face-down on the floor.
  • Contract your gluteus maximus (butt muscles) and raise your chest and arms off the floor.
  • Point your thumbs toward the ceiling.
  • Bring your shoulder blades together with a hard contraction, while pushing them toward your tail bone.
  • Hold for 10 seconds 3 times. Work your way up to a total time of 60 seconds without rest.

 

See Also: Exercises To Help Your Stiff Neck

 

 

Tell us what you think in the comments below and like us on Facebook. This Toronto Downtown Chiropractor will answer all questions in the comments section.

Research

  1.  Jull GA, O’Leary SP, Falla DL. Clinical Assessment of the Deep Cervical Flexor Muscles: The Craniocervical Flexion Test. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2008; 525-533.
  2. Cagnie B, Dickx N, Peeters I, Tuytens J, Achten E, Cambier D, Danneels L. The use of functional MRI to evaluate cervical flexor activity during different cervical flexion exercises. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2008; 104:230-235.
  3.  O’Leary S, Jull G, Kim M, Vincenzino B. Specificity in Retraining Craniocervical Flexor Muscle Performance. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy. 2007; 37(1):3-9.

Author

Dr Ken Nakamura

Who is Dr. Ken? I’m a father, spouse, chiropractor, and I love what I do! I created Bodi Empowerment to bring you and everyone-else safe and effective methods for self-treatment by basing my articles on research to everything I can. Still many parts will be based on 18 years of experience, seminars, and collaboration with other health experts; which means you will get opinions as well. Sometimes my articles won’t agree with what is currently accepted, but I am not here to please everyone. I’m here to empower you through the knowledge that I give you. Dr. Ken works at Rebalance Sports Medicine in downtown, Toronto.

4 Responses to Top Neck Pain Exercises: Get Rid Of Neck Pain | Deep Cervical Flexors
  • Tone says:
    May 10, 2016 at 1:42 am

    Hi Dr. Ken,

    I have pain that radiates from the right neck, through trapezius/shoulder blade and often down my right arm. Pain is persistent whether sitting, standing or laying down. I also have weakness in right hand and have difficulty lifting things with right hand. I also notice that my right shoulder is lower than my left when I have my arms at my side. Would these exercises help with pain and realignment of my shoulder? or would you suggest something different?

    Thank you so much!

    • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
      May 10, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks for your question Tone. You describe cervical radiculopathy but that is not a diagnosis. I would personally consult someone that can examine you and take a proper history. You should read this article.
      http://www.bodiempowerment.com/cervical-disc-herniation-best-exercises-help-sore-neck/
      I wouldn’t do the exercises in the link but you could do a modified version where you do a chin tuck while lying down. Even then you can get worse. I advise that you go to someone that can make sure you are doing the exercises properly and modify them appropriately. Don’t do them on your own. You risk getting worse.

      Hope that helps your neck pain and cervical radiculopathy.

  • Dr Ken Nakamura says:
    September 12, 2014 at 5:19 am

    Thanks for the questions Susan. You should hold the stretches for 30 seconds at least.
    Hope that helps your neck pain.

  • Susan says:
    September 12, 2014 at 3:46 am

    How long do we hold these neck stretches for?

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