What is Neck
The neck is the part of the body, on many terrestrial or secondarily aquatic vertebrates, that distinguishes the head from the torso or trunk. The neck supports the head and keeps it aligned with the body. It is at the top most part of the spine. The spine also runs through the mid and the lower back. The neck is made up of vertebrae, joints, and muscles. The vertebrae are the bones of the spine. They protect the spinal cord inside it and give support for muscles and joints.
Function of the neck:
The main obvious function of the neck is to hold up the head. The neck also contains several blood vessels that allow blood to reach the head and the brain. The neck contains the trachea and part of the esophagus, which allow air and food/water to reach the body, respectively. The neck also contains the upper spinal cord, which controls body movements and is connected to the brain stem in the neck.
Benefits of Neck Exercise:
Exercising your neck can make it stronger, more flexible and reduce neck pain that is caused by stress and fatigue.
Exercising the neck muscles has three benefits:
• It strengthens the muscles of the neck, upper back, and shoulders
• It makes the neck more flexible, increasing its range of motion
• It relaxes the neck and reduces pain
Wall Side Neck Bridge (Body Weight)
• Place small or folded cushioned mat on column or at end of wall approximately shoulder height.
• With hands supporting mat, stand with side toward mat.
• Step far to side so feet are away from wall or column forward.
• Place side of head on mat with shoulder extending over end of adjacent side of column or wall so body leans to side.
• Fold hands behind low back or hips.
• Push side of head into mat and roll onto top of head moving body away from mat.
• Return to original position by rolling back down to side of head while bringing shoulder back over end of column or wall.
Tips for Neck Exercise:
• Before you start a neck exercise program, talk to your healthcare provider, especially if you have had a neck accident or a history of neck problems.
• Stretch slowly, and avoid sudden movement. Pay attention to your muscles stretching.
• When you have stretched it as far as it can comfortably go, hold for 5 seconds, then slowly return to the original position.
• Breathe slowly and deeply as you exercise. Never stretch to the point where it is no longer comfortable.
• Go to the point where you feel a mild tension, and relax as you hold the stretch. The feeling of tension should go away as you hold the position.
• If it does not ease off slightly and find an amount of tension that is comfortable for you.
• Do 5 repetitions for each exercise unless your healthcare provider has requested a different number of repetitions.