What A Pain In The Neck!
Have you ever noticed that by the end of the work day your neck seems rather stiff, making you feel tired? Well, the neck carries a heavy load–at least 10 to 12 pounds or roughly the equivalent of a bowling ball.
Years of sitting behind a desk eventually takes a toll on the 30 or more muscles that hold the head erect. Eventually, the average sedentary American suffers a decline of 40 percent or more in functional neck strength. If you hold your head in one position too long, the other muscles become overworked. Add a touch of normal, on-the-job stress, and you have a formula for a pain in the neck.
Taking a short break from normal activities every 30 to 45 minutes may help ease some of the emotional stress as well as the strain on neck muscles.
Even if you have good cardiovascular fitness as a runner or can bench press your weight, your neck muscles could be hopelessly out of shape. Most health clubs have exercise stations to build strength in the neck. Don’t ignore them!
Physical therapists also recommend three simple stretching exercises to be performed in sets of 10 or so every day:
- turning your head gently as far as you can to the left and then to the right
- tilting your head toward your left shoulder and then your right shoulder
- dropping your head as far as you can toward your chest
Give your neck a little extra preventive maintenance, and it will have the strength to keep your head held high.
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