Sore Neck Relief

How to Relieve Sore Neck?

In this video, Voice Physio, Selina, shares her personal routine to relieve her sore neck. She also shares the worst thing you can do for a sore neck and why you shouldn’t put up with neck pain.

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In this video I will share the five things I do to help relieve my sore neck, shout out to my Instagram fam for enthusiastically voting yes for this video so here it is.

Now this is my personal routine and may not apply to you, so if you’re unsure, check with your own physio first.

These five things are in order and the last one isn’t so well known so make sure you watch from start to finish.

Neck pain is super common, everyone gets a sore neck every now and then. Of all the neck pain cases only about 1% are serious and need urgent medical attention, and they tend to be obvious, when you lose function and lose sensation you know you need to go to the doctor straight away.

For the rest of the neck pain cases the majority resolve on its own. Here’s a tip for you: something that will resolve on its own will begin to show signs of it wanting to do so within the first 7 to 10 days, so if your neck has been grumbling for two weeks or more, it is time to go see your physio.

The first thing I do is to not panic because stress, fear and worry all amplifies pain and here’s why. Pain is a nervous system phenomenon and a big part of it has to do with danger. Your brain is really your bodyguard, your most loyal and dutiful bodyguard and it has one job, to keep you safe.

Your bodyguard is a doer not a thinker, when it perceives danger it will just guard, and the more threatened it feels, the more aggressively it guards. And one of the easiest way it guards is by “locking you up” with your own muscles.

In my 24 years as a physio I have never had a patient with neck pain who didn’t have undue muscle tension.

The good news here is that if we can reduce the perceived threat, we can reduce the pain. This means that anything that can calm and soothe our nervous system can help alleviate pain and here are some science-backed soothers of the nervous system.

The second thing I do is pain-free range of movement exercise. So if it hurts turning to here, I stop before I get there. I gently do this for all directions of movement. The key is keeping it pain free because normal movement sends messages of safety to the brain letting it know that all is well, which encourages your bodyguard to chill and back off the guarding response.

The third thing I do is gentle stretching. Stretching is another calming activity for the nervous system. When my neck is not happy I make sure I respect the current pain and only stretch within the pain-free range of movement. I also make sure I support my head more than I normally need to.

The fourth thing I do is some gentle massage because massage is yet another calming activity for the nervous system. I like to cup my hands on my shoulders and the back of my neck and gently knead the muscles. Remember our objective here is to calm an aggravated nervous system so this is not a good time for hard, aggressive massages.

The last thing I do is nerve glides, my favourite. For me nerves are like the canary in the mines, they are very sensitive to subtle changes in your movement and muscle tension and are super quick to pick up and respond to both threats and safety, so by making sure they are gliding freely, it reassures the nervous system that things are a-ok. But because they are so sensitive it is critical that we respect that the nervous system is currently aggravated and glide well within the pain-free range.

Now nerve glides are awesome and they deserve their own video, which I will make for you next, so make sure you are subscribed so when it is ready it will show up on your home screen.

Bonus tip! Here’s what not to do when you have a sore neck.

The worst thing you can do when your neck is sore and muscles are guarding is to try and crack your neck, especially with a flicking movement. That kind of sudden and aggressive movement is really provocative and irritating and tend to make muscle guarding worse. It’s like throwing rocks at a lion that’s already growling at you, would you do that?

The way I like to use these exercises is to literally replace painkillers with them, so instead of popping Panadol every 4 hours I do this routine every 4 hours.

Now these tools are useful but sometimes we just need professional help, so if your neck has been sore for over two weeks, go see your physio, the sooner you deal with it, the sooner it goes away.

Plus leaving it doesn’t just prolong your suffering, it gives time for secondary adaptations and compensations to set in and these lead you down the path of persistent pain, which is much harder to deal with and you absolutely do not want that.

So the take-home message is: be nice to your body and your body will be nice to you and don’t poke the Beast!

If you’ve found this useful please let me know with a thumb up.

I’m Selina, a physio and a singer. I help singers build strong bodies to enhance their vocal efficiency and performance so if that is your vibe please subscribe.

And this is a playlist I have made just for singers so make sure you check it out. Until next time, Be Free In Your Movement.™

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