Evidence has shown that poor muscle function (i.e. strength and control) of the deep cervical flexor muscles are shown to cause neck pain. It is shown that higher muscle activity of the sternocleidomastoid and anterior scalene will reduce activation of the deep cervical flexors. (Jull, 2009)
To [P]Rehab your neck, here is a great exercise to improve strength and control of the deep neck muscles (longus colli and longus capitis) in a functional manner.
We generally only target this muscle in the sagittal plane (flexion and extension), but here is a way to keep the cervical stabilizers active through all planes of motion.
- Make sure to keep your chin tucked the entire time, the moment you feel like your chin is starting to elevate STOP the exercise because you are now compensating with the muscles that you are probably overusing already.
Note: Make sure you can adequately elevate your chin tuck without excessively recruiting the superficial muscles such as the sternocleidomastoid and the scalenes.
Note 2: To regress this exercise DON’T elevate your head when performing this exercise, just focus on the chin tuck.
Tag a friend who needs a stronger neck!
-Jull GA, Falla DL, Vicenzino B, Hodges PW. The effect of therapeutic exercise on activation of the deep cervical flexor muscles in people with chronic neck pain. 2009