How Exercise and Fitness Can Help Seniors Avoid and Alleviate Neck Pain

September 1st, 2016 by John Wilson

You’ve heard the phrase, “a pain in the neck.” Often, it’s used as an idiom. As people age, though, when they talk about a pain in the neck, they’re often talking in literal terms. Neck pain is a common complaint among seniors. When you think about it, it’s surprising neck pain isn’t more common in all ages. Most human heads weigh between 10 and 12 pounds. The neck must carry that weight. When you add in gravity and motion, the neck carries about 30 pounds of pressure. In some cases, that can feel like the weight of the world. One of the most effective ways to alleviate neck pain is through isometric exercises that strengthen your neck muscles; below are two examples. As with any exercise, inhale deeply, then exhale gently through your mouth as you perform the motions.

Exercise 1: Head Nods

One of the great things about exercises to relieve neck pain is they aren’t physically demanding. In fact, you can do them while seated, even in your apartment in senior assisted living in OKC. Here’s an example of one effective exercise. Sit comfortably in a chair, upright with good posture. Place your hands behind your head and clasp them together. Pull in your chin and slowly nod your head back and forth. When your head reaches your clasped hands, cradle you head and press it gently for three seconds. Repeat this exercise four times.

Exercise 2: Head Presses

The next exercise is also performed while seated. Place one hand on your waist and the other hand next to your head with your palm on your cheek. Inhale, then exhale while you press your head into your hand gently like you’re trying to push your ear to your shoulder. Use your hand to resist and don’t allow your head or hand to move. Apply this pressure for three seconds and don’t forget to breathe! Take a break, repeat the exercise twice and then do the same sequence on the other side. Many facilities for senior living in Oklahoma City offer casual group exercise sessions where trained instructors teach you how to do these and other safe exercises.

Take advantage of exercise programs at senior assisted living.

Senior assisted living should offer exercise programs.

Other Ways to Avoid Neck Pain

In addition to exercising using proper techniques, correct posture can also prevent neck pain. When you carry yourself and sit upright, you’re allowing your spine to adequately support your neck muscles. Slouching, by contrast, stresses the muscles and can cause a dull, aching pain. If you experience neck pain that is worse in the morning after you wake up, consider getting a neck pillow. This type of pillow has an impression that keeps your head in one position and your neck in proper alignment as you sleep. For neck pain that is severe or develops suddenly, consult a doctor right away to rule out a pinched nerve, herniated disc, fibromyalgia, or a medical reason for your pain.

If you are looking for a senior living center in Oklahoma City, we invite you to contact us at Village at Oakwood. One of our facility’s many amenities is a fitness center. Our friendly staff encourages our residents to exercise regularly to the extent they’re able and to stay active to boost their mental and physical well-being.

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