Neck pain exercises can be causative or curative, with just as many patients reporting good or bad results from physical activity. The topic of exercise is always a popular discussion when it comes to pain, with people wanting to know what types of activity might aggravate symptoms and others wanting to know what activities might help resolve them.
Of course, there are no cookie cutter answers to all these questions, given the unique and case-specific characteristics of every individual pain syndrome. However, the scope of this article will provide many answers for those looking for information regarding exercise and neck pain.
Variety of Neck Pain Exercises
Here are some of the topical discussions relating to specific forms of exercise eliciting pain exacerbation and/or pain relief:
Neck exercises are always sought after by those patients who have been told that their pain is due to muscular insufficiency or weakness.
Neck strengthening might be advised by many fitness trainers and physical therapists, but is usually not the answer to ongoing pain issues.
Neck pain stretches, also simply called neck stretches, are often prescribed for patients complaining of chronic tightness or stiffness in the neck.
Swimming for neck pain is another fantastic use for this all around highly recommended exercise modality.
Yoga for neck pain may provide some assistance for those patients who need to increase strength and flexibility to find symptomatic relief.
Cycling neck pain is a common patient complaint for those who ride bicycles or motorcycles regularly.
Rowing neck pain and back pain are very common activity-related symptoms endured by competitive rowers.
Neck pain from lifting weights is an added burden to a hectic workout schedule.
Experience with Exercise Therapy
Exercise therapy is one of the most popular and widely used forms of conservative treatment for all manner of musculoskeletal conditions. Providing exercise guidance is the specialty of fitness trainers and physical therapists the world over.
I am an outspoken advocate of virtually all forms of exercise, since I see the obvious benefits provided towards building and maintaining a healthy mind and body. Obviously, being a martial arts instructor, I have led a very active and athletic lifestyle. That being said, I do not advise that exercise will likely provide a cure for any back or neck pain, since statistically, it will not. Many patients find activity to make their symptoms far worse, while others with identical diagnoses enjoy considerable, albeit temporary, respite from pain.
Unfortunately, there is no way to know how a given patient will react to exercise therapy, but trying is always a good idea, as long as this is done under the careful supervision of a qualified trainer or therapist.
Effectiveness of Neck Pain Exercises
Exercise will virtually never resculpt the spinal anatomy and resolve structural issues that are verified as being causative for pain. However, the vast number of patients with these same structural abnormalities in the spine which have been blamed for causing neck pain usually do benefit from exercise. How is this possible? Well, in most cases, this occurrence helps to reinforce the misdiagnosis which is rampant in the dorsopathy sector. While exercise will not cure structural spinal pain, it will certainly actively fight ischemia, providing the type of significant, but temporary, pain relief generally seen.
All this goes to prove that one of the most prevalent true sources of neck pain is certainly oxygen deprivation and not the diversity of anatomical scapegoats mistakenly blamed for causing the pain in many sufferers. Keep this in mind if you, like most, benefit temporarily from exercise, but never find a lasting cure.
I detail my own exercise and stretching program in my book Back Exercises and Stretches. The book is available on our Cure Back Pain Forever Program product page.