Neck active range of motion exercises are helpful in stretching your tight neck muscles and maintaining your neck’s flexibility. Neck AROM exercises incorporate four important neck movements: flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation.
Perform neck flexion AROM by tucking your chin to your throat and slowly bending your head and neck forward until you either contact your chest with your chin or you cannot go any farther.You should feel a gentle stretch in your posterior neck muscles. Hold your stretch for five to 10 seconds before slowly and carefully tilting your head back, so that you’re looking up at the ceiling, to perform neck extension AROM. Gently pull your shoulders back and push your breastbone forward until you feel a light stretch in your chest muscles and in the muscles in the front of your neck. Hold your stretch for three seconds before slowly returning your head and neck to an upright position. To perform neck lateral flexion AROM, carefully lower your right ear toward your right shoulder until you cannot go any farther.Hold your stretch for five to 10 seconds, and return your head and neck to an upright posture before slowly lowering your left ear toward your left shoulder. Hold your stretch on this side for five to 10 seconds, too. Return your head and neck to an upright position, then carefully turn your head as far as you can to your left and then turn as far as you can to your right to perform neck rotation AROM.
Physical therapy is an integral part of treatment. Using hot and cold, ultrasound, massage, and even chiropractic treatment are options. Exercise and stretching can build strength and improve range of motion. Therapists will teach posture correction and relaxation techniques.
If there is prolonged pain or weakness, or cord compression resulting in neurological problems, surgery is an option, and recovery may take longer.
Bulging cervical discs have been on an increase with the increase in computer usage, and even handheld devices, such as the Blackberry.
If you work at a computer it’s important to have your workspace set up ergonomically. To prevent disc problems in your neck, it’s important to follow these steps if you are working on a computer.
- Take breaks every 20-30 minutes and stretch for a minute or two.
- After each hour of work, change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes.
- Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks.
- Look away from the monitor periodically and focus on something in the distance. This will help you avoid eye fatigue.
- Cover your eyes for 10-15 seconds to give them a rest.
- Use correct posture when working.
- Keep moving as much as possible.