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Muscle Stretching for Relieving Neck and Back Pain

Being pain free allows us to be able to participate in our daily activities and enjoy our lives. But when we experience pain, both acutely and  chronically, we have a limited desire to participate in the activities we normally enjoy. Understanding the causes of your aches and pains can  help you prevent them and enjoy life more!

Most aches and pains in the neck stem from tight muscles and poor posture. Stretching the tight muscles along the back of your neck, strengthening the muscles in the front of your neck and upper body, and most importantly improving your overall posture, can help to relieve neck and back pain. At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, our expert physical therapists can help you get results fast!

With many of us sitting for long hours at a computer or desk, finding ourselves slumping over our work is a common issue.  A great way to begin improving your posture is by strengthening your abdominal muscles. Strong abdominal muscles help to reduce a forward-head position and slumping shoulders that increase neck and back pain as well as stress on the spine by helping us be able to maintain a better position.

Another common problem from sitting for many hours is the tendency to develop tight chest muscles and weaker mid-back muscles. This can also be a cause of poor posture which results in neck and back pain and injuries. Stretching the muscles of your chest and strengthening the muscles of the mid-back can also help you quickly relieve neck pain by improving your posture.  Remember your mother telling you to “stand up straight?”

Maintaining good posture while at work is very important in preventing neck pain. Tightness along one side of the neck is a major contributor to neck pain and can be caused by holding a phone up to your ear or with looking at a screen off to one side. When the shoulder is elevated and the head is tilted, the result is a short upper trapezius (the muscle that extends from your shoulder to the base of your skull) The upper trapezius lifts your shoulders to your ears and when irritated can cause severe neck pain and headaches. Specialized hands-on physical therapy helps to stretch out the muscles, improving your motion and reducing your pain.

In addition to strengthening the abdominal region, strengthening of the pelvic muscles and lower back muscles bring stability to your lower spine. By strengthening these muscles you are better able to protect your low back from painful muscles spasms due to being seated for long hours or when lifting heavy objects. At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center our expert physical therapists will develop a personalized strengthening and stretching program that fits your specific needs.

So before you start taking any medication for chronic neck or back pain, you might want to analyze your body posture and talk to one of our physical therapists. (In the state of Virginia you can see a physical therapist via direct access – this means you can schedule an appointment without having to see a physician first.) Finding tension in your neck or limited range of motion in your spine might be the cause of your pain. By correcting it through manual therapy, proper education, and specialized exercise programs, a  physical therapist can provide you with a simple, affordable solution for your neck and back pain and help you avoid expensive testing and unnecessary pain medication.

Try this stretch…

neck and back pain

  • In a comfortable sitting position on the floor in a chair, sit tall
  • Gently lean your head to one side, until you feel a gentle stretch
  • Gently stretch your hand towards the floor
  • You should feel the stretch comfortably on the side of your neck
  • Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side multiple times a day

If you have any questions on performing this stretch correctly, please contact us, or your physician first. If you find yourself in pain, aching, injured or unable to move like you want to, simply give us a call 703-450-4300. The expert physical therapists at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center will provide a comprehensive evaluation to find the root cause of your problem, then put together a complete plan that works to get you moving, pain-free again. Call us today to learn more!

“Don’t let pain limit you. We Care. We Listen. We Get RESULTS!”