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10 Tue

Quick fix for neck pain

Quick fix for neck pain

Written by: Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI

Stop right there.  Take a look at your posture.  You’re sitting at your computer, reading this article.  You may have some neck pain, you may not, but the odds are that some time in your life you’re going to have neck pain.

Neck pain may be due to a strained muscle or a nerve issue.  Regardless of the cause, posture and fixing it can play a big role.  What I tend to see in my patients is a forward head position with rounded shoulders.  Think about the way you sit to type reports on your keyboard, or how you look when you reply to that email.  Whether it be on the computer, laptop, or on your smartphone, the chances are high that you’ve got your neck and head in the wrong position.

The neck, or cervical spine as it’s officially known as, has a slight curve to it.  When we assume poor positions or postures, we basically flatten that curve or reverse it altogether.  Sometimes I even tell my patients that your head, neck, and shoulders are like building blocks.  If you want to stack up building blocks and not have them fall down, you make sure you stack them straight.  If you stack them off-center or crooked, eventually the blocks will topple over.  Decreasing neck pain is simple as getting those blocks in alignment.

Here’s a quick fix.  Try doing some cervical retractions, also known as chin tucks.  The movement goes like this:

1.  Sit up as tall as you can, keeping your shoulders down and back and your head up and tall.

2.  Now keeping your chin and eyes level, gently pull it back towards your throat, tucking in your chin.  It’s like giving yourself a double chin.

3.  Hold this end position 3-5 seconds, repeat 10-15 times every time you find yourself in poor posture or your neck starts to hurt.

That’s it.  It may look funny, but it will correct your posture and fix that curve in your cervical spine.  Remember, when doing the chin tuck, start slow and gently.  If you start to feel worse after performing the movement, stop.  Don’t continue if you feel dizzy or nauseous with the movement or if you start to get numbness and tingling in your hands or arm.

Bottom line, try the motion out.  If you have any question about whether or not it’s helping you, consult a physiotherapist, who can screen for other issues or problem areas.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.


Image courtesy of sixninepixels /

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