Ok, now that you have performed your little self test, let’s review what you can do to help alleviate the neck pain you feel when you look down.
Scenario 1: Limited motion and tightness when seated and looking down. Improved motion and no pain when you passively range your neck into flexion while lying on your back.
Solution: Your cervical neck flexors (or ‘neck abs,’ as I like to call them) need to be stronger! Perform this:
Scenario 2: Limited motion and tightness noted when seated and looking down. Minimal to no improvement in motion and continued tightness when you passively bring your neck into flexion while lying on your back.
Solution: You need to release some muscle knots and restrictions, perform the two release exercises below:
And possibly this one too:
Scenario 3: Limited motion, tightness, and mild to moderate pain into shoulder blade region when seated and looking down. Improved motion, but continued discomfort, when you passively range your neck into flexion while lying on your back.
Solution: You need to release some muscle knots and restrictions as well as strengthen your neck flexors. Perform all 3 exercises detailed in this article, beginning with the two release techniques with the lacrosse balls, and finishing with the chin tuck exercise.
Scenario 4: Very painful looking down with potential radiating symptoms into your scapular region or down your arm. Continued pain and radiating symptoms when lying down and ranging your neck into flexion passively.
Solution: AVOID flexion Range of Motion (ROM) for now. You are demonstrating certain nerve inflammation, or neuritis. You must avoid flexion to allow the neuritis to subside. This is important to allow for a more timely recovery and to minimize further damage. In this scenario it can be very helpful to obtain a soft cervical collar from your local pharmacy to help you get over these heightened symptoms.
I hope that stuff helped. Stay tuned for my next post regarding neck extension and rotational pains. Thanks!