Mobility Medicine — How to Maintain Neck Flexibility

An astonishing 68% of adults have damage in their discs, or cushions, between their cervical vertebrae. This is referred to as cervical disk degeneration. If you don’t have it now, you will likely get it unless you are involved in a neck mobility program. An early sign of this might be noticing a popping or cracking sound, known as crepitus, when you rotate your neck.

This noise can occur due to the movement of joints, ligaments and tendons in the neck area. Some people might feel a grinding sensation, which could be due to the friction between your bones or cartilage.

When the disk between your cervical vertebrae shrinks as you age, it can lead to pain, stiffness, or even nerve-related symptoms if your disk affects nearby nerve structures.

5-Minute Core Exercise... Dzenitis, Tami Brehse Best Price: $4.22 Buy New $6.99 (as of 06:44 UTC - Details) Although I had no symptoms, I suffered from degeneration of my 5th and 6th cervical vertebrae when I was in my early 60s. As far as I know, there are no exercise programs to prevent this, which is why I created one for you.

I have several dear friends who are chiropractors and seven years ago I started seeing one regularly to address this condition. The treatments and the exercises they advised seemed to halt the progress of the condition, but I wasn’t pleased that it wasn’t completely resolved. I also noticed that I had sounds that occurred when I rotated my neck and was always concerned that it was related to cervical degeneration.

After I started working with Bahlon, I began to appreciate something that a chiropractor friend had told me and has stuck with me ever since: “Motion is the lotion.” I love that statement because it is simple, accurate and precise. When we fail to move our body in the ways that it was designed to, over time, we will lose the mobility that we all had as children.

The following exercise is a perfect illustration of the creativity that is possible once you are reconnected with yourself. The potential of what you can create is nearly mind-bending. Creativity is different for each of us and typically related to our passions. In my case, I had been struggling for three months trying to identify a set of mobility exercises that could restore my structure to that which I experienced as a child.

How I Created This Exercise

In mid-January 2024, I woke up at 11:11 PM. I was tempted to go back to sleep because it was far too early to wake up even though I went to bed at 6:30 PM. I recognized the number was a sign for me to get up and respond to the intuition that I was being given, and I’m glad I did because that was the morning that I created this neck exercise program that I later revised to the one below.

Over a few weeks, I began to understand that rotating my head in different directions was key to restoring its vitality, so I played around with adding and subtracting different modifications. This specific set of cervical mobility exercises has never been previously identified. Novel features include the integration of active isolated stretching with the near-infrared Light Magic bulbs.

I later came to realize that cervical mobility is not just about getting your spinal segments to move and rotate as much as they can, but to increase the strength and flexibility of supporting neck muscles. This is because tight neck muscles radically limit the movements in all planes of your cervical vertebrae. This would Include flexion, extension, rotation and side bending.

The objective of these exercises is to restore natural movement in your cervical spine, which is diminished for most of us due to lack of use. This is a perfect illustration of the “use it or lose it” principle.

Regularly practicing these range-of-motion exercises is crucial. Without them, there’s a high likelihood of losing your neck mobility. Consistent exercise is key to maintaining the health and flexibility of your cervical spine.

Stay mindful of comfort for all exercises:

It’s crucial to remain within a range that is comfortable and pain-free.

Avoid any movements that cause discomfort or strain.

Frequency for all cervical movements:

Perform as many repetitions as feels comfortable.

Trust your body’s feedback to determine the number of repetitions.

Note that the optimal number may vary daily.

When combining these exercises with near-infrared light therapy, it’s important to understand the positioning relative to the light source. Specifically, when performing exercises in front of the light(s) and tilting or extending your head backwards, the light directly illuminates two crucial glands: the thyroid gland in your neck and the thymus gland beneath your breastbone (sternum).

This exposure to specific light frequencies significantly benefits these vital organs by promoting their repair and regeneration.

Addressing the Most Common Degenerated Cervical Disks, C5 and C6

To prevent degeneration of these discs, it’s vital to engage them in their available range of motion. Additionally, for those who already have some damage, certain movements can help in reversing or alleviating this deterioration. Ensuring regular movement in this area of your spine is crucial to preventing the degeneration of these commonly damaged spinal discs.

To introduce movement into these discs, start by rotating your head to one side while keeping your posture upright. Then, move your head forward as far as possible, effectively bringing your chin towards your chest and then extending back. After reaching the limit of this motion, rotate your head slightly — about an inch or two — and repeat the movement.

Continue this process, gradually rotating your head through various angles, covering a semi-circular motion across your upper torso. Aim to achieve this up-and-down movement in about 10 different positions to ensure a comprehensive range of motion for these cervical vertebrae.

Then rotate an inch or so to the other shoulder and repeat the process. Continue to rotate across your body so that you’ve moved your neck up and down in about 10 different positions covering the entire circumference over your upper torso. You can then reverse the direction and repeat a few times back and forth.

Integrating Active Isolated Stretching

Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) relies on the principle of reciprocal inhibition, which is the process where the contraction of one muscle (the antagonist) leads to the relaxation of the opposing muscle (the agonist). This neurological event is mediated by the nervous system and is a fundamental concept in kinesiology. Here’s how it works step by step:

Chair Yoga For Seniors... Warren, Robert H. Best Price: $8.20 Buy New $9.00 (as of 02:30 UTC - Details) It’s important to note that the stretch reflex, which is a protective mechanism against muscle tears, is avoided in AIS due to the short duration of the stretch. The stretch reflex typically activates when a muscle is stretched too quickly or too far, but since AIS involves gentle and controlled movements, this reflex is not triggered, allowing for a more effective stretch that enhances flexibility and mobility without causing muscle tension or injury.

Integrating the AIS principles into mobility medicine allows you to rapidly increase your progression and reach your end goal as much sooner.

Benefits of Maintaining a Flexible Neck

There are many potential benefits of these exercises, as having a flexible neck will:

Important Tips

It’s important to approach neck flexibility exercises with caution, especially if you’re experiencing neck pain or have a history of neck issues. Before performing neck stretches, it’s a good idea to warm up with gentle neck movements, like nodding and turning your head side to side, to prepare your muscles.

Maintain normal breathing throughout the exercises, as this helps relax your muscles and increase the effectiveness of the stretches. Never push into pain. If you experience discomfort beyond a gentle stretch, stop and consult a healthcare professional. For best results, incorporate these exercises into your daily routine.

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