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February 19, 2014

Injury Report: Neck Muscle Tension & Strains

neck pain

If you are like the majority of the population, you have probably had some sort of neck pain in your life. Whether it be from whiplash, a car accident, a traumatic accident, a sudden movement, or just holding stress in your traps.  Either way, I want to share some basic tips on treating neck pain.

Modalities: If you are having muscle spasms or muscle tension, then heat is great for those muscles involved. However if it is a new injury, then ice. Keep in mind that if you seek professional medical attention, they may also be able to use ultrasound, dry needling, and myofascial/massage techniques to help you.

Massage: You may want to get a massage if you feel your have some knots aka trigger points. Take a look at some of the most common areas for trigger points throughout the neck.


Stretching: Hold each of the three stretches 3 x 30 seconds on each side neck stretches

Strengthening: Perform 3 sets of 12-15 of each. Your goal is to re-train the deep cervical flexors which are the muscles at the front of the neck. So throughout these exercises, make sure your SCOM muscles are not firing to compensate (the SCOM are the muscles that stick out when you turn your head to the right or left – they attach at your sternum).

  • Chin tucks with posture shoulder squeezeneck2
  • Chin Tucks against wall with No-Money Band external rotationneck3
  • Head Resistance in 4 directions (fwd, bwd, L, R)Isometric neck exercises after surgery
  • Band rowing


Lifestyle changes: If the cause of your neck pain is stress or tension related, then you’ll want to make some changes to how you do things.

*Throughout your day, focus on your posture. Keep your shoulders down (depressed) and don’t let them creep up towards your ears.

*When you are at the computer, sit upright with your shoulders back and head in line with you body (not forward).

*When lifting things, lift from your legs so your upper traps don’t get overworked.

*Make sure the pillow you sleep on is the right height. Your head should be in a neutral position when you are lying down (in line with your legs/torso/spine). Your head should not be backward bent or up too high. Usually one thick pillow works, or two thinner ones.

*When driving, try to keep your head back against the rest.

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