Neck pain can be an incredibly painful and debilitating injury – and it can be very difficult to treat. Pain might be associated with a pulled muscle or series of muscles, or a pinched nerve. Neck pain also often happens as a result of irritation in the facet joints of the lower cervical vertebrae; this irritation causes the muscles around the shoulder blades to ache with a sharp, throbbing pain. These muscles are known as trigger points, and because of how often they cause neck pain, a number of different exercises have been created to help relieve these symptoms. Below are the very best trigger point exercises for neck pain – all of which are easy to do, require very little equipment, and can be done in your home or office every day.
Foam rollers can be purchased at various health and sport stores for $10-20 each. Foam rollers can be used for a number of effective exercises that help alleviate trigger point pain.
- Simply lying flat on the floor and placing the foam roller below your neck and sore trigger point muscles can stretch them out and help to alleviate the pain.
- Rolling it slowly up and down your neck while you lie on the floor is a simple exercise that can also be performed in this position.
- You can also place the foam roller on the floor and lie on it lengthwise. With your hands on your hips, roll sideways with your torso parallel to the ground and be sure the roller is making firm contact with the scapular muscles that are causing you pain on the trigger points. Roll back and forth slowly at least twenty times per day, if not multiple times per day.
Use a racquetball
The small hard rubber ball used for racquetball is also incredibly effective for massaging out trigger point pain through a few simple exercises.
- Find an empty wall and lean against it with your upper back. Place the racquetball between your shoulder blades so that it is pressing firmly on the scapular muscles. The bend your legs in a squat so that you can roll the ball along your back, up and down, side to side, and back and forth, massaging those muscles thoroughly as you do so. You should do this for at least two full minutes every day if you are having trigger point pain. Do the exercise more as necessary and replace the racquetball if it becomes too soft and pliable over time.
The trigger point muscles can also be exercised by simply moving your head and neck in specific ways, stretching and strengthening the muscles at the same time.
- Sit in a straight-backed chair and push your shoulders back, causing you to sit as straight up as possible. Look straight ahead and then slowly bring your chin back into your chest. It may help to place your index finger in the center of your chin and press it back into your chest. Hold this position for five to ten seconds and then release it, slowly returning your head to a level position. Repeat this ten to 15 times in a row every day when the trigger point muscles begin causing you pain. The more slowly and steadily you move during this chin tucking exercise, the stronger the muscles around these trigger points will become, theoretically causing you less pain in the future.
If you are still feeling the pain after doing these exercises, contact us and we will walk you through the treatments we provide.