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What are the Deep Core Muscles of the Neck? How to Fix Neck Pain with Physical Therapy... (Part 2)

Physical therapy for neck pain involves a multitude of different things, hands on work to improve muscle length and joint mobility can be invaluable. However the best thing to keep your neck feeling good is to improve the deep core muscles of the neck.

chin tuck with band, neck exercise
Cervical Retraction with theraband

Exercises to Target Deep Core Muscles in the Neck

  1. Chin Tucks: Sit or stand with good posture and gently tuck your chin towards your chest, lengthening the back of your neck. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat several times.

  2. Cervical Retraction: Similar to chin tucks, but focus on retracting your head backward without tilting or rotating it. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat as needed.

  3. Isometric Neck Exercises: Place your hand against your forehead and resist against it as you try to push forward. Hold for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat with your hand on the back of your head and on each side of your head.


Why Should I See a Physical Therapist?

  1. Individualized Treatment: Often times specific variations to an exercise or proper progressions of exercises are needed to strengthen over time.  Improper form or loading too quickly can increase pain and symptoms.  A specifically tailored program can prevent this from happening.

  2. Assessing Deep core muscle strength and level: If you don’t know which part of your neck is weak then throwing random exercises may not help.  We assess the exact level of your weakness and give you cues to help find how to contract/squeeze these muscles.


In Conclusion

The deep core muscles of the neck protect the neck from injury.  They also maintain neck stability, facilitate movement, and their role in preventing injury cannot be overstated. By understanding their anatomy and function, you can take proactive steps to strengthen these muscles and promote optimal neck health. Whether as part of a rehabilitation program or a preventive exercise routine, incorporating targeted exercises for deep core muscles can help unlock the full potential of the neck, reducing pain, promoting strength, stability, and resilience.

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