The neck is the main support for your head and can move freely forwards, sideways and backwards enabling us to turn our heads, although sometimes the shoulders may move together with the neck as when serving in tennis.
Causes of neck pain
A common reason for neck pain is from overuse, as in lengthy training sessions of badminton practice, throwing sports or gymnastics. There may be a strain or tear or partial tear in the ligament and also at the same time there can be damage to the neck joints or small joint capsule or muscle. One or more of the discs can also be damaged.
Help for recovery of neck pain
Medical help should be sought as it is important to have accurate diagnosis of your neck but there are several things that you can do to help neck pain when you are recovering from your neck injury. Sleeping can be difficult but a pillow under you neck for support as well as for your head can help. Posture is important when standing and also when sitting your back should always be well supported and your arms at shoulder level. Avoid twisting movements of the neck which is difficult for example in driving. If you can use all three mirrors and avoid turning to look the in the same direction all the time it can help.
How to prevent further neck injury
Your neck should be completely recovered before resuming your sport as once the neck is injured the risk of further injury is greater, but if care is taken and you start sport gradually and not to soon, this will lower the risk of further injury. Try and change any bad habits that you may have, for example standing with your head on one side. Runners have a habit of running with their shoulders tensed and their heads leaning to one side, and some of us prefer to look over one shoulder than the other without realizing it.
Neck strengthening exercises
- Put the palm of your hand on your forehead and press your head against your hand. Hold for a count of four.
- Put the palm of your hand on the side of your head and press against your hand. Hold for a count of four.
- Repeat this on the other side of your head.
- Place your hands at the back of your head and push your head back into your hands. Hold for a count of four.
- Cup you hand and place against you chin and push your chin sideways with your other hand towards the cupped hand. Hold for a count of four.
- Repeat this on the other side of your chin.
- For regaining mobility, gently raise you head up and then lower toward your chest using a steady movement. Repeat up to ten times.
- Move your head from side to side, again gently and with a steady movement.