With the invention of computers, then smart phones; we have also have the invention of “text neck.” I’m constantly reminding my clients, now my daughter, and even myself not to look down at our devices. We need to try to hold them up to eye level. Also, with us being more sedentary, especially those of you who sit behind a desk most of the day; we need to start paying more attention to exercising our necks. You can find plenty of neck stretches on the Internet or in books, but I like to adapt those concepts with the Muscle Activation Techniques (M.A.T.) process. Let’s work on shifting your focus to strengthening your cervical (neck) muscles instead of just stretching or lengthening the muscles.
Instead of pulling on your head to create stretches to relieve the neck tension, we are going to focus on gently pushing to strengthen and relieve the tension. This idea is like the saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The pulling/stretching idea can give you relief, but pushing/strengthening will lead to a more long term solution. M.A.T. teaches that when you strengthen the muscles, the tight muscles will relax due to your muscular system becoming stronger, creating stability and a greater range of motion.
Once you understand this concept and develop a routine, a little bit of practice goes a long way. These cervical strengthening exercises are best instructed by video, so please take a look at the following videos. Try incorporating the next few video demonstrations into your daily routine regardless of any neck pain, as a proactive approach to the health and fitness of your body – especially your neck! Please remember you don’t have to be aggressive on these isometric exercises; actually, the easier you are with your body the better it will respond.
* If any of the exercises seem to be causing more pain or discomfort, please stop the exercise immediately. Don’t hesitate to email me about what seems to be going on, and I will try to help or advise you to find someone who can. Most importantly, listen to your body and learn to understand what it is telling you. Our bodies have great intuition if we listen!