Chances are if you are reading this article you suffer from some type of neck pain. Today I would like you to know that there are things you can do, and probably should be doing for your neck, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. For the cost of a piece of Resistance Band Tubing and two minutes of your time, research supports, you can reduce or alleviate chronic neck pain. (1) Now that I have got your attention, let’s walk through this for a few minutes.
Since the turn of the industrial revolution in the middle of the 19th century, we have seen a decline in manual labor, and an increase in time spent sitting down. The last twenty years we have seen jobs go from using pads, pens, and paper, to laptop computers, smartphones, and tablets. We have also seen a spike in neck and shoulder pain during that time. Research shows that if you work on a computer for fifteen hours a week or more, you are 50% more likely to develop pain and symptoms in the upper body (neck, shoulders, back), within the first 12 months. (1,2) In addition, white collar workers are subject to a 35% greater risk of long term illness. (1)
In 2013 a study was completed on female office workers, measuring pain intensity and muscular strength (in the neck). (1) In the study two groups were formed and a training group was compared with a control group. The training group was to perform up to two minutes of shoulder abduction in the scapular plane with Resistance Band Tubing, targeting neck and shoulder musculature. The training group performed as many repetitions as they were able during the two minutes or until they reached form fatigue/momentary muscle failure. (1) The control group received weekly emailed information on health-related topics, ergonomics in the workplace, stress management etc.
During the study the training group and the control group were monitored during the work day with EMG (electromyogram) to measure muscle activity in specific neck and shoulder musculature. The results of the study were a statistically significant decrease in neck pain for the training group, a significant improvement in the EMG studies for muscle activity in the neck and shoulders, and demonstrated effectively no change in the control group. So, we see the two groups under the same working conditions, with the training group having less pain and improvement in muscle strength. The control group had no improvement at all, even scoring slightly worse at the end. (1)
So here is the task
Perform repeated shoulder abductions for 2 minutes, or until your arms a too tired to continue correctly
Perform 5 days/week
Gradually increase repetitions and the strength of the resistance band
Reduce or Alleviate Neck Pain!
If your pain persists, seek the help of a professional (Physical Therapist, MD, etc
James Mawhiney is a doctor of physical therapy and the owner of Shelley A. Cooper, PT in
Bermuda Dunes. He can be reached at (760) 345.9934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Lidegaard, Rene B. Jensen, Christoffer H. Andersen, et al., “Effect of Brief Daily Resistance Training on Occupational Neck/Shoulder Muscle Activity in Office Workers with Chronic Pain: Randomized Controlled Trial,” BioMed Research International, vol. 2013, Article ID 262386, 11 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/262386
Andersen LL, et al. Effectiveness of small daily amounts of progressive resistance training for frequent neck/shoulder pain: Randomized controlled trial. Pain. 2011 Feb;152(2):440-6.