If we want to effectively relieve neck pain we need to have a process that works to address a number of factors. Firstly we want to support the natural curvature of the cervical spine – the section of your spine that makes up your neck. This section of your spine should have a smooth C-shaped curve that bends backwards. This allows for normal load-bearing and shock absorption, whilst putting the muscles in a neutral position. That is to say, the neck muscles are not in a shortened contracted state, or in an elongated state.
When it comes to many cases of neck pain the muscles on the back of the neck are often elongated and in cases of recurrent or chronic neck pain and headaches this muscular abnormality will be maintained by a changed cervical spine alignment and a reduction of the natural C-shape referred to earlier. Two of the exercises in this routine have this natural curve in mind.
Secondarily we want to unload both the muscles and the spine itself, this has the effect of giving these load-bearing structures a rest which is what we’re doing in the towel exercise.
Thirdly, we’re working here to open out some of the muscles that are often chronically shortened in cases of neck pain and headaches, these include the muscles on the front of your neck as well as the chest, which pull your shoulders forwards. Giving these muscles a chance to stretch off gently helps decrease the pulling on the front of your neck and shoulders as well as the compression forces through your neck.
If you’re someone who’s struggling with neck pain right now, then this routine can be done multiple times a day to relieve these structures. If however you’re someone who just want’s to provide your neck and shoulders with some positive movements to offset long hours at a desk or using a smartphone then this can be done on a regular, daily basis to help promote good movement in your neck and shoulders.