Are you suffering from a stiff neck?  The same neck stretches and neck exercises can utilized in helping to alleviate the symptoms for conditions such as arthritis, acute or chronic whiplash condition, a pinched nerve, or even muscles that have been overused.

Generally speaking, you never want to do neck stretches or exercises for your neck that increase the pain in your neck, especially if it is a sharp pain that is either localized in your neck or traveling down into your shoulder, arms or hands.  Sharp pain is a sign that tissue has been damaged and that there may be inflammation or possibly a pinched nerve that could be producing a natural and appropriate pain signal to your body to not create further damage or irritation.  In fact, in almost every case of whiplash, arthritis, disc bulges or pinched nerves that I see in my practice, patients will almost always have pain that is produced when they do an exercise maneuver that rotates or laterally flexes there head toward the side of pain.  There are two Orthopedic tests to help in the diagnosis of the above condition for the neck that indicate just this phenomena: the Jackson’s and Spurling’s tests.  So a word to the wise is sufficient, just refrain from creating discomfort by turning your head toward the side of pain, especially in the acute phase of your healing.

With that said, there are basically two good neck exercises that help to relieve muscle tension, a stiff neck, decrease pain, and open up a bulging disc.  You can either rotate your head away from the side with the pain / stiffness and hold it there for about 5-10 seconds, or by laterally flexing your head away from the side with the pain /stiffness (tilting your head sideways bringing your ear towards your shoulder), while holding the end range position for 5-10 seconds.  I’ll usually recommend that a patient does this set of exercises three times per day.  The end range is where you have the optimal neck stretch and where the movement within your spine is decompressing the side of injury or pain.  Biomechanically both of the above neck exercises / neck stretches can literally be opening up the opposite side of the spine to relieve a disc bulge, joint compression or pinched nerve.

Of course the ultimate consideration is how to prevent the neck stiffness in the first place, right?  Please consider PILLO1, the Original design that keeps your head and neck in the ultimate neutral position while side or back sleeping; or consider the PILLO1 Side Sleeper, which is for the 63% of Americans who side sleep only.  Both will help keep your neck and spine more relaxed all night and hopefully allow your spine to HEAL while you sleep.

The above blog is intended for general use of the consumer and is not intended to replace or substitute for proper Chiropractic or Medical Diagnosis or management of your spinal condition.  If any perpetuation of your condition continues for longer that five to ten days, please seek the advice of your Chiropractic or Medical Physician.

Dr. Hall
Dr. Ray Hall

Dr. Raymond Hall, the renowned DC, inventor, author, lecturer, television personality and sleep expert who has been honored by the International Association of Healthcare Providers as the "TOP CHIROPRACTOR IN CALIFORNIA" for 2015, 2016 and 2017. Dr Hall currently practices at Pacific Coast Sports Medicine in West Los Angeles and lives in Malibu, CA.