Exercises to Improve Neck Range of Motion
Posture & Range of Motion
Ideal posture starts with a strong foundation. A foundation of a balanced, symmetrical upright posture. Once, you have a healthy static posture the next step is to ensure a healthy posture in motion. A reciprocal relationship exists between static and dynamic posture. So if you improve your neck range of motion you will improve your posture.
What is Range of Motion?
Every joint in our body has been assigned degrees of “normal” movement referred to as “range of motion”. It’s a base line to let us know whether that joint has proper function. The neck has its assigned range of motion degrees. The most common way to measure range of motion clinically is through observation using various hand-held devices or digital devices. While at home evaluation can include checking for symmetry and movement that feels like you’re getting a full range without pain. Call on a friend or family member to help you. Have them watch you while you perform the ranges of motion as seen below.
Start with turning your head from side to side – this is rotation. Nodding your head down so you chin goes to your chest and then lift your head up towards the ceiling is flexion and extension. To check lateral flexion keep your shoulders relaxed and bring the same side ear to the same side shoulder – do this for each side. Each of those movements have scientific terms and relatively agreed upon degrees of movement that are considered “normal”. Here is a list of what is accepted as normal range of motion for an adult neck:
Rotation – Left (turning head to left side) – 80 degrees
Rotation – Right (turning head to right side) – 80 degrees
Flexion (chin to chest) – 60 degrees
Extension (chin up towards ceiling) – 50 degrees
Lateral Flexion -Left (Left ear to left shoulder) – 40 degrees
Lateral Flexion -Right (Right ear to left shoulder) – 40 degrees
Improve neck range of motion immediately
When I first discovered this very simple exercise to improve range of motion of the neck I was shocked by the immediate results and therefore not surprised to her clients also felt the difference. These exercises work because you use larger muscle groups and greater mass to create the same movement as if you were making the same movement with your head. Keep your head still and let your body move around it. Therefore, find a spot on a wall to focus your eyes on. Also using a pole or exercise band is helpful to keep your body square.
Rotate your body from side to side and go to each side 20 times
Bend forward and arch gently back while keeping your eyes looking forward. Go front and back 20 times
Bend your body from side to side and go to each side 20 times
Finally, my clients do these exercises everyday at least once per day and so it not only brings improvement in their neck range of motion but also relief in general neck stiffness and upper back tightness. Furthermore be sure to take your time and do each movement slowly avoiding anything that brings discomfort. As a result of benefits of these exercises I include them as part of my patient exercise routines. Consequently, I have been giving clients these for years and I know that they will bring you as much benefit as I have seen in my office.