Does this look like how you sit at your desk?
Many injuries that we see in the clinic are driven by poor daily behaviours, & the work environment is a major culprit. For example, a large portion of our office worker patient population complain of neck and/or headache symptoms.
You can see the “forward chin posture” demonstrated in the photo. This creates large shear forces at the cervicothoracic junction (base of the neck), as well as upper cervical spine joints. Patients often complain of having a “tight neck”, where in fact it’s the postural behaviours & cervical strength to control appropriate positions that play the biggest role in creating symptom change.
Simple exercise interventions can have a significant effect on neck and headache symptoms.
This first drill aims to re-educate good cervical positioning through mobility & proprioception, as well as strengthening the deep neck flexors, responsible for maintaining the chin tuck posture throughout the day.
Start with your feet a little way away from the wall, bum flat. Bring your sternum height up – this extends your spine – & retract your shoulder blades to sit flat on the wall. Chin then comes down to parallel with the floor, before tucking it back until the back of your head touches the wall. Your chin should stay parallel with the floor at all times. If you don’t have the range to keep this position & tuck all the way to the wall, tuck as far as you can with the chin maintained in parallel. Then poke the chin forward as far as you can (keeping it parallel to the floor), before repeating the tuck. You should feel the muscles on the front & front/side of the neck working.
This second cervical flexion drill is a super simple & effective loaded exercise that doesn’t require any equipment! In supine lying, bring the chin to a position perpendicular to the floor, body relaxed, shoulder blades retracted. Tuck your chin in by squeezing the back of your head into the floor. Keeping the back of your head in contact with the floor, flex your neck as far as possible. Then, lifting your head, take your chin to your sternum. Cervical flexion is the aim, maintaining the full flexion position we’d set up earlier in the exercise – don’t allow the chin to drift forward, or the movement to come from the abs. Return smoothly and under control
Stop both of these exercises if there is any pain not associated with elongating tight structures at the posterior of the neck and loading the structures at the front of the neck.
Do you suffer from persistent neck pain or headaches? Why not drop us an email & see how we can help!
Want to know more about what we do? Check out our Treatments page here.