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5 Exercises to Prevent an Aching Neck
One of the things many of us take for granted is a pain-free neck. It's only when we have a stiff or painful neck that we wish we had taken preventive measures. The exercises discussed below are to strengthen and stretch a normal neck. If you have preexisting neck pain or a spine condition, check with your health care provider before doing these exercises.
There are several causes of neck pain, including poor posture and soft tissue abnormalities due to injury or wear and tear. Soft tissues include muscles, ligaments, and tendons. In rare instances, an infection or tumor may cause neck pain. On occasion, neck problems can lead to pain in the shoulders, upper back, and/or arms.
Necks need exercise, too
The muscles in your neck can be exercised and strengthened just like other muscles in your body. Plus, exercise will improve your neck's range of motion. Check with your health care provider before doing neck exercises, however, and stop at once if any movement causes you pain.
Before you begin a neck exercise, it's important to find the proper starting position for your head. This helps prevent exercise-related injuries. Do this by putting your head squarely over your shoulders, then move it straight forward and then back. This back or base position is your starting point. For each of the following exercises, begin with 5 repetitions and build up to 10.
Rotations. Sitting or standing, turn your head slowly to the left and then to the right as far as you can, comfortably. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds to 30 seconds.
Shoulder circles. While standing, raise your shoulders straight up, then move them in a circle around, down and back up again. Circle in both directions.
Side stretches. While standing, stretch your neck slowly to the left trying to touch your ear to your shoulder. Repeat on the right side.
Resistance exercises. Place your right hand against your head above your ear and gently press, resisting the movement with your neck. Do the same with your left hand on the other side.
Head lifts. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift and lower your head, keeping your shoulders flat on the floor. Next, lie on 1 side and lift your head toward the ceiling. Repeat this movement on your other side and while lying on your stomach.
Easy preventive measures
Proper neck posture, a simple matter of good body mechanics, can offer you protection from neck pain. Here are suggestions from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and other experts that can help prevent the misuse or overuse of your neck:
Don't sit in 1 place for a long time. If you're stuck at your desk, place items around your office so that you are forced to get up or stretch to retrieve them.
Maintain good posture for your neck. Adjust your desk chair so your hips are slightly higher than your knees. Your head and neck will then naturally assume the correct position. When traveling, place a small pillow or rolled up towel between your neck and the headrest.
Don't sleep with too many pillows or with a pillow that's too thick.
When talking on the phone, don't cradle the phone between head and shoulder. If you're on the phone often, switch to a headset or speakerphone.
If you are reading or typing from other materials, raise the pages to eye level.
If you have corrected vision, keep your prescription current so you don't have to crane your neck forward to see clearly.
What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program of exercise, education, counseling and training that helps patients with heart disease achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase 2 program at the Wellness Center includes three 60-minute sessions per week and usually lasts for 12 weeks depending on insurance or the physician's prescription. A Phase 3 cardiac rehabilitation program is now available.
Candidates for cardiac rehabilitation
Patients with stable coronary heart disease are suitable candidates for this program. This includes patients diagnosed with:
- Coronary artery disease
- Stable angina
- Heart attack
- Congestive heart failure
- Angioplasty or stent placement
- Heart surgery (coronary artery bypass grafting, valve surgery)
- Heart Transplant
Phase 2 Cardiac Rehabilitation program
Phase 2 Cardiac Rehab participants are usually referred by their cardiologist or primary care physician. Exercise sessions are monitored through telemetry (ECG) monitors and begin with an appropriate individualized exercise level that will gradually progress in duration and intensity.
Blood pressure, heart rate and signs and symptoms are all monitored before and during each session by our team of specialists. During this phase, participants enjoy a personalized exercise program tailored to achieve their specific fitness goals. Upon completion of the program, patients are ready and able to continue their home exercise program or join the maintenance program at The Wellness Center.
Phase 3 Cardiac Rehabilitation program
Phase 3 cardiac rehabilitation is another option for a hospital-based cardiac rehab. The patient will take part in a closely supervised non-EKG-monitored exercise program. Patients will have the opportunity to learn about lifestyle changes, risk factor reduction via educational classes, nutrition, and cardio and strength exercise.
Trained wellness center staff will monitors patients’ blood pressure, oxygen levels, heart rate and perceived exertion levels.
* A patient may begin the phase 3 program only after receiving physician’s approval. This program is $10 per session and is not covered by insurance. For more information, please call 954-355-4861.
Through biweekly classes, patients gain a better understanding of heart disease and the importance of lifestyle management. Taught by a team of cardiac health experts, topics include:
- Cardiovascular risk factors
- Angina and latest treatments
- Weight loss
- Benefits of exercise
- Stress management
- Food label reading
- Heart healthy lifestyle changes
- Coronary disease
Benefits of a hospital-based program
Our hospital setting provides a highly specialized program in a safe environment. The cardiac rehabilitation program is conducted by a team of highly trained specialist and includes:
- Exercise physiologists
How does exercise help?
Exercise plays a significant role in reducing heart disease. A major part of cardiac rehabilitation consists of safe, personalized exercise therapy monitored by our trained professionals. Exercise sessions take place at The Wellness Center where patients have access to a wide range of the latest exercise equipment and a diverse class schedule, including a variety of aerobics, strength training, yoga, tai chi, and Pilates.
Cardiovascular exercise will help:
- Reduce heart rate and blood pressure
- Improve stamina and muscle tone
- Increase the heart's efficiency
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Control body weight
- Improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Improve self-confidence and overall sense of well-being
Most insurance companies reimburse for cardiac rehabilitation. A prescription and insurance verification is required prior to starting the program.
If you are interested in our cardiac rehabilitation program and would like more information, please contact the Wellness Center at Broward Health Medical Center at 954-712-4275.