As we get older, we may begin to lose some range of motion in our necks. Sometimes we experience pain or chronic neck problems; other times, we just begin to notice we can't move our necks as far as we once did. A recent study showed how chiropractic care can help increase range of neck motion.
The neck should be able to move in the following manner:
- Flexion: Forward to touch the chin to the chest (40-60 degrees)
- Extension: Tilting the head back to look at the ceiling (60-80 degrees)
- Rotation: Turning your head to the left and right. Chin should be in line with the shoulders (60-80 degrees)
- Lateral Bending: Bending your head to bring your left ear or right ear to your left or right shoulder, respectively (45 degree angle or halfway)
Did you test yourself? If not, try all the motions above. If your neck seems stiff or inflexible, don't try to force the movement--moving your neck beyond its normal range of motion is how injury occurs. If you do feel as though you have limited range of motion, gentle spinal manipulation may help increase your neck's range of motion as well as prevent further degeneration.
In a recent study, researchers found that spinal manipulation increased neck range of motion in patients with intervertebral, asymptomatic cervical motion restriction. This suggests that spinal manipulation may be a very good therapy for age-related cervical degeneration.
Passmore S, Burke J, Good C, Lyons J, Dunn A. Spinal Manipulation Impacts Cervical Spine Movement and Fitts' Task Performance: A Single-Blind Randomized Before-After Trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. March 2010: Vol. 33, Issue 3, Pages 189-192.