A real pain in the neck- how to get rid of it

Hello there, SRQ Sports Rehab community!

Today I want to talk to you about a common problem that affects many people: headaches and neck pain. Whether you work in an office, spend long hours on the computer, or are an athlete, it's not uncommon to experience these types of discomfort. Fortunately, there are evidence-based ways to improve headaches and decrease neck pain. In this blog post, I'll be sharing some of the best strategies that you can use to feel better and move better.

Firstly, it's important to understand the connection between the neck and the head. The neck serves as a foundation for the head and is responsible for supporting its weight and movement. When the neck is strained or tense, it can cause tension headaches, which can be a real pain in the neck (literally). The good news is that by improving neck mobility and reducing tension, we can alleviate many types of headaches and neck pain.

One of the most effective ways to improve neck mobility is through soft tissue work, massage and/or foam rolling. These techniques help to release tension in the muscles and fascia. Research has shown that foam rolling can be an effective way to increase range of motion and reduce pain in the neck (Cheatham et al., 2015). To foam roll your neck, start by lying on your back with a foam roller under your neck. Slowly roll your head back and forth, allowing the foam roller to massage the muscles along the sides of your neck. Be sure to avoid rolling directly on the spine. If this doesn't help, make sure to come in and receive a targeted deep tissue massage from a license physical therapist, in order to relieve pressure on those tight areas. 

Another effective way to improve neck mobility is through the use of dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching involves moving the body through a range of motion to improve flexibility and reduce stiffness. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that dynamic stretching can be an effective way to increase neck range of motion and decrease pain (Page et al., 2013). To perform a simple dynamic stretch for the neck, sit tall with your shoulders relaxed. Slowly tilt your head to the right, bringing your ear towards your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly tilt your head to the left.

Finally, it's important to address any postural imbalances that may be contributing to neck pain and headaches. Poor posture, such as slouching or hunching over a computer, can cause the neck to become strained and tense. To improve posture, focus on sitting up tall with your shoulders relaxed and your head in a neutral position. If you work at a computer, make sure that your monitor is at eye level and that your keyboard and mouse are within easy reach.

In conclusion, there are many evidence-based ways to improve headaches and decrease neck pain. By improving neck mobility through foam rolling and dynamic stretching, and addressing postural imbalances, you can feel better and move better. If you're experiencing chronic or severe neck pain or headaches, be sure to consult with a physical therapist or medical professional for further evaluation and treatment.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this information helpful! Don't forget to share this post with your friends and family who may be experiencing similar issues.


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References: Cheatham, S. W., Baker, R., & Harty, J. (2015). The efficacy of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization when applied to the cervical spine: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 23(4), 154-169.

Page, P., Frank, C. C., & Lardner, R. (2013). Assessment and treatment of muscle imbalance: The Janda approach. Human Kinetics.