Video: Why Is Exercise Important for Neck Pain?

Video presented by Grant Cooper, MD

Video Transcript

Doing a regular set of exercises that incorporates cardiovascular, stretching, strengthening is so important for so many different reasons for everyone. For neck pain, even just for healthy necks, doing a set of exercises for the neck is also very important.

The neck basically has a really hard job every day - it holds up your head. Your head weighs a little more than a bowling ball. So, if you think of holding up a bowling ball all day, every day, that's what your neck is doing. For a lot of us, our postures aren't the best, so the head ends up sitting out in front of the neck a little bit. If you can imagine holding a bowling ball above your head, that's hard enough. Now imagine holding the bowling ball out in front of your head, that's even harder. So, getting the right sets of exercises to help get the head back over the neck and basically help get the shoulders back, get the cervical stabilizing muscles stronger, helps to support the spine and helps to do a lot of the job of the neck so that the bowling ball isn't putting all the pressure through the static structures - through the facet joints, through the discs - that can't get out of the way.

Doing those exercises can go a long way to preventing neck pain. And when people have neck pain, it's all the more important to support the neck to take the pressure off the neck and, ideally, we can get some guidance with a physical therapist or a certified trainer - somebody to help teach a set of exercises. That doesn't have to be a major commitment - we could be talking about five minutes a day of doing the right kinds of stretching and maybe a little bit of strengthening that then gets incorporated into an overall exercise routine.