Are you grappling with neck pain and looking for a neck pain exercises PDF?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll answer some of your most pressing questions about neck pain and provide you with our free neck pain exercises pdf. We’ll explore the different factors that can contribute to discomfort and discuss when it’s best for you to seek medical attention.
You might find it surprising to learn about the various conditions and injuries that can lead to neck pain. We’ll also debunk some common myths about the issue and offer tips on how you can prevent future pain.
We understand that finding relief from your discomfort is crucial. That’s why we’ll explore different treatments and strategies for managing neck pain, including both rest and movement with our neck pain exercises pdf. We’ll even provide you with some advice on how you can speed up the recovery process.
Plus, we’ll share some of the best exercises and stretches that can help get rid of neck pain. With the right techniques, you can address your discomfort and work towards a healthier, pain-free neck.
If you’ve been experiencing neck pain for more than two weeks or suffering from severe neck pain, it’s important for you to consult with a Physiotherapist. They can rule out any underlying medical conditions and determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs. You can book a free assessment with one of our Physiotherapists online, or you can keep reading to learn more about how you can fix your own neck pain.
In this blog we’ll be looking at the following:
To support you further on your journey to a pain-free neck, we’re thrilled to offer a free downloadable PDF packed with effective exercises for neck pain. This resource is designed to empower you in understanding and managing your neck discomfort. Click here to grab your free PDF now.
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What are the causes of neck pain?
If you’re dealing with neck pain, it’s important to understand that the most common type is muscular pain. You may notice tightness, stiffness, and discomfort in your neck, which can be caused by factors like a restless night’s sleep or sudden force.
It’s worth mentioning that even without an injury or tissue damage, lifestyle elements such as stress, limited physical activity, poor sleep, mood, or beliefs can also contribute to this kind of pain.
While other potential causes like arthritis or nerve pain are less likely, it’s still crucial to rule them out for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
If you’re curious to learn more about your pain and how to manage it, we recommend downloading our free neck pain exercises pdf written by our experienced Physiotherapists.
When should I worry about my neck pain?
If you’re dealing with neck pain, there’s no need to worry. Most cases are treatable and not cause for major concern. However, it’s important to be aware of certain symptoms that may require medical attention. If you have a history of malignancy, experience infectious symptoms like fever, sudden severe pain after a fall or injury, or develop neck stiffness along with difficulty going to the toilet, it’s best to seek a medical assessment by dialing 111.
Additionally, if you’re experiencing pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in your arms or legs, have a history of inflammatory disease (especially if you’re on immunosuppressants), or notice any abnormalities in sensation or power in your arms or legs, it’s crucial to get checked out as soon as possible.
For patients who are under 18 or over 55 years old and experiencing new onset symptoms, it’s recommended that they see their GP.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to relieve neck pain and improve mobility, neck pain exercises can be extremely beneficial. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available, including neck pain exercises PDFs that provide step-by-step guidance. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine.
Why is your neck in pain?
When it comes to managing your neck pain, it’s crucial for you to understand the nature of pain itself. Remember that pain is personal, normal, and always real.
Your brain perceives pain as a natural response to potential harm or danger, acting as an alarm system. It’s interesting to note that pain can occur even when there is no apparent tissue damage, and the intensity of pain is not always directly proportional to the extent of the injury. The context in which the pain occurs plays a significant role in how we perceive it.
Instead of thinking of your body as a machine that needs fixing, it can be helpful to envision it as an orchestra, with each movement acting as a different instrument. To restore effective functioning within this “orchestra,” the goal is to re-tune the instrument when you try some neck pain exercises, which you can easily access via a neck pain exercises pdf.
It’s important to understand the difference between pain and discomfort during the recovery process. Gradual stress is necessary to improve the body’s function, even if it causes some discomfort. While resting the painful area may seem like the right approach, it can actually delay the recovery process. Instead, you need to gradually stress the tissues to help them adapt and become stronger.
In the following sections, we’ll explain how you can effectively apply this approach to manage your neck pain and find relief.
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Neck pain myths you need to know
You might have come across old myths about neck issues that were established before we had a better understanding. It’s understandable if you have faith in them. However, While it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed, don’t let these myths control your life. By educating yourself and taking control of your neck health, you can find relief and peace of mind.
One great way to do this is by performing neck pain exercises that are specifically designed to target the problem areas. By accessing our free neck pain exercises pdf, you can gain access to a variety of exercises that can help you increase your range of motion, and reduce discomfort. Remember, the power to heal yourself is in your hands.
Myth #1: Your neck hurts because you have “poor posture”
If you’re dealing with neck pain, it’s natural to consider your posture as a possible cause. It’s a common belief held by many professionals as well. While making adjustments to your posture may offer temporary relief, it can also create unnecessary fear about certain activities and prolong your symptoms until you receive treatments that truly address the issue in the long run.
Contrary to what you may have been told, multiple studies have shown that neck posture, or any posture for that matter, is not directly linked to pain (1). People with what may be considered “poor posture” often experience no pain, while those with “good posture” can suffer from chronic pain.
To help you grasp this concept better, we have a video featuring Robert, one of our stroke survivors, practicing walking with a rounded upper neck posture (known as kyphotic posture), which many might consider suboptimal. However, Robert is pain-free and able to perform everyday tasks within the limitations of his stroke.
Just imagine being asked to stand at attention like a soldier with a “perfect” posture for hours on end. You would likely feel just as achy and sore, if not more so, than if you sat at your desk for prolonged periods. Additionally, research suggests that changing your workstation and sitting position has little to no impact on whether or not you develop neck pain (2). And even if you already have neck pain, it won’t speed up your recovery.
In short, the most problematic posture is the one you maintain for extended periods. Therefore, don’t blame your posture for your neck pain. Instead, focus on your activity levels, such as the number of steps you take, and explore other effective treatments to alleviate your symptoms.
Myth #2: Your neck hurts because it’s out of alignment and needs manipulating or mobilising to put it back.
If you’ve been thinking about manipulating or “cracking” your joints to find relief from neck pain, it’s important to understand that any temporary symptom relief is unlikely to address the underlying issue. Despite what you may have heard, poor neck posture and alignment are not strongly linked to neck pain.
According to a systematic review and meta-analysis, which looked at 47 randomized trials and included over 4000 participants, joint manipulation or mobilisation alone can only provide immediate or short-term pain relief that doesn’t last in the long run (3).
Instead of relying solely on manipulation, it’s crucial for you to address the root cause of your neck pain by developing healthy habits and seeking expert advice. Factors such as poor physical activity habits, stress, lack of sleep, and limiting beliefs may contribute to your pain.
So, while spinal manipulation might provide temporary satisfaction, it’s not a sustainable solution. If you want to prevent your neck pain from recurring, focus on developing healthy habits and seeking expert advice to effectively manage your neck pain and improve your overall quality of life.
Myth #3: Your neck hurts because you’re getting old and it’s a sign of arthritis from wear and tear.
If you’re in your middle age and dealing with neck pain, it’s understandable to think that it’s just a normal part of getting older and that medication is the only solution to manage the discomfort and decline in function. However, this assumption is not only unhelpful for your recovery but also untrue.
It’s important to remember that neck pain can affect anyone, regardless of age. It’s not necessarily caused by wear and tear, and even young individuals can experience neck pain while some elderly individuals may not. In fact, individuals with neck arthritis can have minimal pain despite significant joint deformities.
According to a study conducted in 2015, 37% of 20-year-olds had neck degeneration without experiencing any neck pain, while 96% of 80-year-olds had neck degeneration without pain (4). This suggests that most age-related changes in the body, such as disc degeneration, are similar to internal wrinkles or grey hairs – natural and painless processes.
So, unless you exhibit any of the red flags mentioned earlier, getting a scan of your neck won’t provide helpful information. The scan won’t reveal why your neck is painful or offer any new insights. Instead, the best approach to managing neck pain is through advice, education, and movement. Remember, you have the power to take control of your neck health!
Myth #4: “I don’t want to mask the pain with tablets”
If you’re dealing with neck pain, you might have concerns about taking painkillers. You may worry that they’ll simply mask the pain or even make it worse if you move your neck too much. On the other hand, some individuals choose not to take painkillers on principle.
However, it’s important to know that taking short-term painkillers under the guidance of a GP or pharmacist can actually promote quicker recovery and enable you to exercise. This is because acute neck pain is often caused by heightened sensitivity in the neck rather than actual damage. It’s crucial to understand that pain doesn’t always indicate harm.
By utilising painkillers, you can gradually increase your neck mobility and break the cycle of pain, limited movement, stiffness, and sensitivity. So, don’t hesitate to have a conversation with your doctor about pain management options that can assist you in recovering faster and resuming your daily activities. Your health and well-being matter, and there are solutions available to support your journey.
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How do you treat neck pain?
If you’re dealing with neck pain and searching for a short-term solution, consider trying a Sports Massage. Not only can it provide relief from pain, but it can also uplift your mood, boost your immune system, and reduce stress levels. Additionally, you can try exercises outlined in our neck pain exercises pdf to alleviate concerns about movement. Your therapist can guide you through exercises outlined in this blog to help alleviate your concerns about movement.
However, if you’re after a more long-term solution, the Treatment Pyramid outlined below is the way to go. It starts with finding a knowledgeable Physiotherapist who can educate you about your condition, alleviate your fears about movement, and create a personalised rehabilitation plan tailored to your specific needs.
The next step involves engaging in general movement therapy, which has been proven to be an effective painkiller for various muscle pains (5). By dedicating at least 150 minutes per week to moderate-intensity exercise, including 30 minutes of progressive resistance training on two separate days, you can make a significant difference! Don’t worry if you’re not currently getting enough physical activity – even a brief 5-minute walk each day can make a positive impact! Increasing your physical activity can enhance your physical and mental resilience to movement and activity through bioplasticity. This means that your neck tissue can change and improve with movement, ultimately reducing pain and the likelihood of injury or discomfort.
Think of your physical capacity as a cup, and daily physical movements and mental stressors as the liquid within it. The larger your cup, the more stress your neck and brain can handle. This lowers the chances of experiencing pain and discomfort. However, simply resting won’t solve the problem. Instead, we need to intelligently stress our tissue to initiate improvements in function and symptoms efficiently.
This is where the Goldilocks principle of rehabilitation comes into play. Resting your neck and relying on a neck brace won’t help; in fact, it can weaken your muscles and worsen your symptoms. On the other hand, excessive movement can aggravate your symptoms and delay your recovery. Stay tuned to learn how to strike the perfect balance of stress levels for optimal results.
Is it better to rest or move neck pain?
Now that you have a better understanding of the benefits of stress, you can utilise it to your advantage when addressing neck pain. By applying just the right amount of stress to your neck, you create small micro-traumas that send signals to your brain and central nervous system, prompting improvements in your range of motion and stress tolerance. You can download the neck pain exercises pdf to help you get started on the right track.
Achieving proper sleep and implementing effective stress management techniques can allow your body to enter a state of super-compensation, where it becomes stronger and more resilient than before. You can see this illustrated in the super-compensation graph provided.
By consistently challenging your neck with the appropriate amount of stress and allowing ample time for recovery, you can expand the size of your physical capacity “cup” and enhance both your symptoms and neck function. This concept is known as bioplasticity, and it serves as a remarkable tool for recovery.
However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and avoid overdoing it. Excessive stress, whether it stems from mental or physical sources, can actually intensify your neck pain and muscle tension. So, always strive to strike the right balance between stress and recovery to achieve the best possible results.
How long does neck pain take to heal?
When it comes to neck pain, it’s essential to understand that not everyone will experience a complete resolution of symptoms and disability.
However, by following a solid rehabilitation plan, you can increase your chances of improving painful symptoms and returning to normal levels of function.
It’s important to keep in mind that recovering from neck pain is often a journey with its share of ups and downs. The speed of your recovery depends on various factors, such as the quality of advice and education you receive, your adherence to recommended treatments, and your levels of fear and catastrophization.
To ensure realistic expectations, it’s best to think of your rehabilitation as a series of milestones rather than strict timelines. Our Neck Physio program takes a structured approach, focusing on these milestones and guiding you through each stage of recovery one step at a time, at your own pace. And if you’re looking for additional resources to support your rehabilitation, you can download our neck pain exercises PDF.
While there’s no magic solution for neck pain, it’s worth noting that placebos like acupuncture or dry needling may provide temporary relief for some individuals. However, they typically require repeated treatments, which can be costly and prolong your long-term recovery.
In the upcoming section, we’ll outline our most effective mobility and strength treatments that have been proven to work well for individuals with neck pain over the long term. Stay tuned and discover the strategies that can make a real difference in your journey towards improved neck health.
What are the best exercises to get rid of neck pain?
We have carefully curated the exercises below, drawing on the latest scientific research (6) and our experience working with patients dealing with neck pain. These dynamic strengthening and mobility protocols are specifically designed to enhance your back’s physical capacity.
It’s important to note that the most effective rehab exercises for you are often the ones that challenge you and may feel a bit uncomfortable. To achieve optimal results, we recommend performing each exercise at least twice a day. Start with 5 repetitions and gradually increase to 15 reps as you feel capable. It’s normal and even beneficial to experience slight discomfort (up to a 5/10 pain level), but if it exceeds a 6/10, ease off.
Once you can comfortably complete 15 repetitions of level 1, you can progress to level 2 and continue from there. Don’t forget to exhale as you move into discomfort. This will aid in relaxation and gradual improvement of your range of motion, alleviating symptoms. With consistency and patience, you’ll be well on your way to recovery in no time!
If you’re currently dealing with neck pain, it’s crucial to take action and seek assistance. Our online neck physiotherapy assessment is an excellent starting point and it’s completely free. By utilising scientifically-based exercises specifically designed to enhance your back’s physical capacity, you can gradually build strength and mobility, leading to a reduction in pain and overall improvement in your well-being.
If you’re seeking personalised guidance to address your discomfort, our experienced Physiotherapists at Health by Science are here to assist you on your journey to a pain-free shoulder. We offer a range of treatments tailored to your specific needs.
But that’s not all – we understand that comprehensive well-being includes both physical and mental health. That’s why we also provide Personal Training Edinburgh to help you stay active and fit. Our certified trainers will work with you to create a tailored fitness plan that complements your physiotherapy.