Personal Trainer

Strength & Conditioning for the management of chronic neck pain

Neck pain is something we all experience at some point in our lives. The most common cause is the overuse or misuse of muscles and ligaments. The modern workplace or method is dominated by the use of computers, this is especially tough on the muscles of the neck because of the long periods with shoulders slumped and heads extended toward the monitor.


Considerable study has been devoted to the treatment of chronic neck pain. Common interventions include medication, chiropractic manipulation, electrical nerve stimulation, massage, and various forms of exercise. Results so far have been inconsistent and difficult to compare, and the quality of research has been uneven. Still, there’s mounting evidence that certain exercises designed to strengthen neck muscles can help break longstanding cycles of neck pain.


A randomized trial has found that women with work-related neck pain experienced significant and long-lasting relief by regularly practicing five specific neck muscle–strengthening exercises. General fitness workouts, by contrast, reduced the pain only slightly. Results were published in the January 2008 issue of Arthritis Care and Research.


The Study


Danish scientists at the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen recruited women engaged in repetitive work, mostly at computer keyboards, at banks, post offices, administrative offices, and an industrial facility. All complained of neck pain lasting more than a month during the previous year. They were eligible for the study if physical examinations showed they had trapezius myalgia, chronic pain and tightness in the muscles that run down the back of the neck and fan out toward the shoulders.


Participants were divided randomly into three groups. One group received strength training focused on neck and shoulder muscles. The second group received general fitness training, which consisted of riding an exercise bike without holding onto the handlebars. The third group was given only health counseling. The two exercise groups worked out for 20 minutes three times a week for 10 weeks.


The women rated pain intensity in the trapezius muscles immediately before and immediately after each training session and two hours after each workout. The strength training group experienced a 75% decrease in pain, on average, during the intervention as well as during a 10-week follow-up period involving no workouts.


General fitness training resulted in only a short-term decrease in pain that was too small to be considered clinically important, although the researchers did suggest that even a little reduction in pain severity could encourage people to give exercise a try. There was no improvement in the health counseling group.


Observations


This study isn’t the final word on relieving chronic neck pain. The number of participants (48) was small, and most of the women were under age 60. The results may not apply to women who are older or have conditions that limit their ability to strength train.
Still, the findings suggest that performing specific muscle-strengthening exercises may be a helpful strategy for many women with chronic neck pain. (The researchers have investigated the effectiveness of each exercise with electromyography, which measures muscle-generated electrical activity. Results will be published in the journal Physical Therapy.)


The Strength & Conditioning Program For Managing Chronic Neck Pain


The strength & conditioning program for managing chronic neck pain is an advancement in the training used in the Danish study which consisted of only five exercises that involved the use of hand weights to strengthen neck and shoulder muscles, to include stretches and conditioning exercises to eliminate pain and weakness in the form and function of the neck.


This is a 10 week program with a certified personal trainer. Sessions are held three times per week, at 30 minutes per session. In a typical session participants perform three to six different strength exercises, doing three sets of eight to 12 repetitions (each set lasting 25 to 35 seconds) for each exercise. The exercises change from session to session, progressing in intensity from week to week. Your personal trainer will gradually increase your weight load, roughly doubling in 10 weeks.


This is an intensive program and participants are carefully supervised by a Certified Personal Trainer. As your personal trainer, I highly recommend that before you embark on a similar program you book a consult with me, an exercise specialist who can help design a program for your needs and make sure that you’re doing the exercises correctly.


I also cannot stress the importance of consulting with your doctor or healthcare provider before you embark on a new exercise regiment. As your personal trainer all programs I offer require you to undergo a physical activity readiness questioner as your health and safety needs precede all aesthetic goals.


Tiger Athletic is a modern, private, appointment-only gym in Sandton, Johannesburg using a rigorous, results-focused methodology we are passionate about helping you be the healthiest version of yourself, so you can lead a more fulfilling personal and professional life.

Our sessions are strictly 1 on 1 just you and your trainer. There is nobody else in the gym and all equipment used is sanitized at the end of each session for the safety of all my clients.


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