The Best Exercises for Neck Pain…Plus a New Treatment You May Not Know About

by | Regenerative Medicine

The Best Exercises for Neck Pain…Plus a New Treatment You May Not Know About

Oct 4, 2022

If you have neck pain but haven’t suffered serious trauma, you may have been told to get some exercise as part of your treatment regimen. If you’re an active person, this is good news, as you can still partake in some sports to stay healthy. Here are three categories of exercise that are known to be beneficial for neck pain, plus some activities you should probably avoid if you’re still having discomfort. And if these common exercises for neck pain don’t help, there’s more good news. You can skip medications with side effects and risky surgery with a new treatment for neck pain that’s safe and long-lasting.

Common Exercises for Neck Pain

Stretching exercises

Gently stretching the neck and shoulders is a great way to relieve neck pain. Just remember to go easy. Don’t do any stretches that make your pain worse. Stretching should feel good — like getting a massage.

For added comfort, you may like doing some neck stretches in a hot shower or while relaxing in a warm bath with a hot towel draped over your shoulders. After stretching, keep the area nice and warm so it doesn’t tighten up again.

Some of the most popular stretches for neck pain include:

  • Tilting the head slowly from side to side, holding in between
  • Making circles with the head
  • Rolling the shoulders forwards and backwards
  • Extended arm circles forwards and backwards
  • Sitting in a chair and stretching with one arm overhead to the right and left
  • Twisting from the waist side to side while seated on the floor
  • Lying supine and bringing the knee to the chest with the other leg extended

If you can do these exercises without pain, you may be able to add some basic yoga asanas for added flexibility.

Strengthening exercises

If weak muscles and/or poor posture are at the root of your neck pain, strengthening the muscles of the neck, shoulders, arms, and torso may help, according to scientific studies. When the support below your neck is stronger, the weight of your head doesn’t feel as heavy, and your spinal alignment may improve as well. A well-conditioned core can actually make your neck feel better.

There are tons of strengthening exercises that can help with neck pain. You may want to meet first with a physical therapist or professional trainer to set up a plan. If anything makes your neck pain worse, or if you experience unwanted symptoms like numbness and tingling in your arms, it’s time to stop and try something else.

Some of the best strengthening exercises for the upper body include:

  • Light training with free weights or resistance bands
  • Pushups and planks (you can do them against the wall too)
  • Pilates on a mat or Reformer machine
  • Ballet and ballroom dance, which stress straight posture

Light aerobic exercise

It may surprise you to learn that light aerobic exercise — the kind you do for your cardiovascular system — can also help with neck pain. It gets the blood flowing to heal inflammation and can help improve your posture and carriage.

What are some good types of light aerobic exercise for neck pain?

  • Walking or Nordic walking with poles
  • Elliptical or cross-country ski machine
  • Water aerobics
  • Swimming

You can read more about activities to avoid with neck pain below. When doing light aerobic exercise, avoid excessive bouncing or exercise that puts the neck in an extreme position. For example, road cycling where you’re hunched over the handlebars will probably be uncomfortable and make your pain worse.

When swimming, avoid the breaststroke in favor of the freestyle or backstroke. Try turning your head to alternate sides when taking a breath during freestyle swimming so your neck gets an even workout on both sides.

Activities to Avoid with Neck Pain

High-impact and jarring activities…plus a few more cautions

As much as you may want to exercise with neck pain, there are some sports you should avoid. Stay away from the following:

  • Contact sports, such as football and hockey
  • High-impact sports, like running or soccer
  • Grappling or fighting sports, including martial arts, boxing, and wrestling
  • Sports that involve sudden jerking motions of the head, such as golf
  • One-sided sports that can exacerbate neck pain, like tennis, fencing, and baseball

Additionally, there are some daily activities that can undo all the help you get from stretching, strengthening, and light aerobic activity. These include:

  • Hunching over a laptop or mobile phone
  • Sitting in a slumped position to work, read, or watch TV
  • Overuse, whether at work or home, such as lifting and pulling heavy objects
  • Sleeping with the wrong type of pillow (too shallow or too high)
  • Stressful activities that increase muscle tension around the neck, particularly driving in heavy traffic

An Innovative Alternative to Common Neck Pain Treatments

Regenerative medicine

If exercise, with or without other treatments, doesn’t help you resolve your neck pain, there is a new therapy available that has been quite successful in treating neck pain and other joint issues: regenerative medicine.

This highly advanced treatment offered at RegenerWave Clinic uses injections of exosomes in the joints of the neck to kickstart a natural healing process. Exosomes are the “cousins” of stem cells and cue the body to reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and replace tissue lost to aging, wear, injuries, and degenerative disease.

Regenerative medicine usually yields results within the first session or two, and it’s long-lasting — for months or years — because the cells produced renew themselves many times over. Although it isn’t typically covered by insurance yet, it may be cheaper for you than treatments for neck pain that aren’t covered by insurance or are designed to simply mask the pain for years, without ever getting to the root of it.

Is regenerative medicine right for your neck pain? We can let you know after just one appointment, and it’s a fantastic component of a holistic approach to functional medicine that addresses all your concerns together, including nutrition, hormones, and gut health.

If you’re ready to see what regenerative medicine can do for your neck pain, call RegenerWave Clinic today at 954-510-3150, or reach out online to schedule your first consultation.

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