Even healthy people who are in the prime of their life can be affected by neck pain. It is not surprising to have neck pains since the neck is on duty 24/7 holding our heads which weigh an average of 10 pounds. Whether it is because of poor sleeping position, poor posture or some type of injury, people will encounter some type of neck pain during their lives. The solution to any type of body stiffness, pain and discomfort is usually exercise. But how can you exercise your neck? The answer to this is isometric exercises.
WHAT IS AN ISOMETRIC NECK EXERCISE
Isometric exercise is a form of exercise where you execute an isometric muscle contraction. In an isometric muscle contraction, the muscle exerts force without changing its length. Unlike traditional exercises like weight lifting which involves lengthening of the muscles, isometric exercises have little or no joint movement. In an isometric neck exercise, the neck is held in a non-moving or stable position to isolate the targeted muscle. The muscle is then allowed to grow stronger through resistance without movement or pain. If you gradually increase the resistance, the muscle grows in strength and endurance.
BENEFITS OF AN ISOMETRIC NECK EXERCISE
A huge benefit of isometric neck exercises is that you can do them practically anywhere, anytime. It does not involve any machines or equipment, and even people who are immobilized can do them. Even a few minutes of isometric neck exercises spaced out during the day will reap huge benefits. Another benefit of an isometric neck exercise is that there is less movement, therefore there is less risk for injury or re-injury, especially for people who are in the process of recovery and rehabilitation or are immobilized.
For people suffering from Arthritis, doing isometric neck exercises will greatly reduce neck pain, stiffness and discomfort. Those with Rheumatoid Arthritis will find that certain movement of the neck exacerbates their problem. Isometric neck exercises will therefore aid in the relief of pain using such exercises as Static Flexion, Static Extension and Isometric Lateral Flexion.
ISOMETRIC NECK EXERCISES
There are many isometric neck exercises designed to ease pain and stiffness in the neck. In doing these exercises, always keep in mind to stay in your comfort range. Meaning, if the exercise adds pain or discomfort, stop doing it immediately. Remember to continuously breathe all throughout the routine. Keep the neck aligned and use only slow movements for the neck. Repeating these exercises throughout the day will greatly improve your neck condition.
Static Flexion – Put both hands on your forehead and gently push against their resistance. Tighten the neck muscles and try your best not to let your head move forward. Hold this position for around 8 seconds. Rest your neck, then repeat.
Static Extension – Place both hands against the lower back of your head. Apply slight forward pressure, but make sure to resist the movement as you push your head back into your hands. Be conscious that your head does not fall backward. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Rest for 3 seconds then repeat. It is helpful to have a mirror beside you so that you can check your position and posture while doing the exercises.
Isometric Lateral Flexion – Place your right hand on the right side of your head, just above the right ear. Tighten your neck muscles and resist the pressure to move your head sideways. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Rest for 3 seconds then repeat. Do the same procedure to your left side.
Isometric Lateral Flexion 2 – Follow the procedure of the Isometric Lateral Flexion but this time, place your right hand on the lower part of the right side of your head so that your hand is near your chin. Tighten your neck muscles and resist the pressure to move your head to the right. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Rest for 3 seconds and repeat. Do the same procedure to your left side.
Neck Flexion – This exercise will help improve neck mobility and flexibility. It will also relieve muscle spasms. Sitting upright, bend your head forward. Try your best to touch your chin on your chest. Hold for 8 seconds. Repeat 8 to 10 times.