Stabilization Exercise for Neck Pain
There is a ton of debate among musculoskeletal healthcare providers (chiros, PTs, MDs, etc.) around the exact causes of neck pain. Some believe that clinicians can and should arrive at “tissue specific diagnoses” or “functional diagnoses” in order to tailor treatments/interventions to specific problems. Others view neck pain through a “non-specific” lens, meaning that an exact tissue specific diagnosis cannot be determined in the vast majority of patients. Because of this, more general therapies/interventions work just as effectively as specific ones. While the debate rages on, it is undeniable that providers on both sides of the aisle get results... which is what patients really care about.
Something we evaluate at Stassi Chiropractic in our neck pain patients is how well these patients stabilize their head on top of their shoulders. The thought process is that if the cervical spine has a stability deficit the brain will neurologically limit ROM to prevent injury. We will look at things like joint restrictions in the cervical and thoracic spine, head position in relation to shoulder position, symmetry of muscles from side to side, and strength/endurance of the neck muscles. If we find any “dysfunctions” we will likely implement neck stabilization exercises as part of the treatment.
Neck stabilization exercises aren’t anything ground-breaking and can be accomplished with many, many different methods. Some of our favorite techniques implement principals from post-isometric relaxation techniques and developmental kinesiology. Along with specific exercises, we will typically implement manipulation and patient education to round out our neck pain treatments. Overall, we believe that this blended approach is the most effective way to get patients back to feeling themselves!