A lot of times clients and friends come up to me complaining of tight muscles. Sometimes they are correct in their analysis and yes they are as tight as a Boy Scout knot. However, a high percentage of the time it’s not tightness, but weakness.
The perfect example of this is most people’s neck pain. Most experience pain in the back of the neck. Naturally they think those muscles are tight. They may Google some stretches and perform them and it provides a little relief. Within a few hours the pain is back. Did you “tighten up” already?
Now take a second and look at the posture of someone experiencing neck pain. Their head is forward. They look like a pecking chicken! One step further. if the head is in a forward position are the muscles on the back of your neck stretched or shortened? Stretch. So why would we keep stretching them in order to get rid of this pain? Maybe they are in pain from being in that position. They may be spasming because they are trying their hardest to contract to counterbalance the tight muscles in the front of your neck. If we perform strengthening exercises to further help those muscle pull the head back into posture I guarantee the neck will hurt a lot less.
Does that make sense? It’s never just as easy as stretching. Strength is never a weakness. We have to strengthen and stretch! Watch below for a quick and easy neck exercise.
Mark Radio serves as the manager, exercise physiologist and nutritional counselor at BE. He graduated in 2008 from Bloomsburg University with a bachelors degree in Exercise Science, is a CPT through ACSM, and is a certified nutritional counselor through AFPA.