Getting Mobile: Neck & Upper Back

So you’ve seen your chiropractor and know you have mechanical neck &/or upper back pain. You’re using all your self-care pain control strategies - now is the time to take advantage and get the area moving. But first, always remember that these movements are:
  1. There to help not hurt - mild discomfort is ok, but if the movement is making your pain worse you need to stop and try again tomorrow and/or consult your chiropractor
  2. Meant to be used regularly and consistently - doing them ‘once in a while when I remember’ isn’t helping anyone
  3. Not to be rushed
  4. Done at your own risk
PHASE 1: Stretching & Mobilizing
  • Perform these (or just those recommended by your chiropractor) 2-3 times per day (or more if you feel that it helps) for 2-3 sets per movement to get the best results
  • Use the order provided, but skip any that aggravate your condition
  • When you feel comfortable with Phase 1, progress to Phase 2: Stability

1. Chin-to-Chest Stretch

Sit up straight with feet on the floor & arms at your sides. Slowly bring your chin down towards your chest (you may use your hand/s on the back of your head to increase the stretch) - only go as far as your discomfort will allow. Hold for 30-40s and slowly release.

2. 45 degree Stretch

Sit up straight with feet on the floor & arms at your sides. Turn your head 45 degrees to one side then slowly bring your chin down towards your chest (you may use your hand on that side to hold the back of your head to increase the stretch) - only go as far as your discomfort will allow. Hold for 30-40s and slowly release. Repeat on the other side.

3. Ear-to-Shoulder Stretch

Sit up straight with feet on the floor & arms at your sides. Slowly tilt your head to the side and bring your ear down towards your shoulder (you may use your hand on that side to hold the back of your head to increase the stretch) - only go as far as your discomfort will allow. Hold for 30-40s and slowly release. Repeat on the other side.

4. Neck Twist

Sit up straight with feet on the floor & arms at your sides. Slowly turn your head to the side - only go as far as your discomfort will allow. Hold for 30-40s and slowly release. Repeat on the other side.

5. Upper Back Twist

Sit up straight with feet on the floor & arms at your sides. Slowly turn your shoulders to the side (you may use your arms to hold your chair/legs to increase the stretch) - only go as far as your discomfort will allow. Hold for 30-40s and slowly release. Repeat on the other side.

 

 

6. Shoulder Rolls

Sit up straight with feet on the floor & arms at your sides. Slowly lift your shoulders up towards your ears, then pull them back, then bring them back to the start position. Repeat the circle for 10-15, then perform the circle in the reverse direction for 10-15.

 

7. Chin-to-Chest Mobilization

Lie on your back with your knees bent & feet flat on the floor. Slowly bring your chin towards your chest - only go as far as discomfort allows. Pause for a breath, then return to the start. Repeat for 8-10 reps.

 

 

 

8. Cobra Mobilizations

Lie face down with your hands flat on the floor beside your shoulders ("pushup" position). Keeping your hips on the floor, slowly lift your head as far back as is comfortable. Now use your arms to lift your chest and shoulders off the floor as far as is comfortable creating a gentle backwards bend. Hold for 30-40s and slowly release.
 
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