Neck Pain Exercises-treat your own neck pain by using the best neck exercises and learn which are the worst for your neck.

Two exercises that WILL give you neck pain

Posted by in Neck Pain Essentials |

 There are a few exercises that do your body more harm than good. Here are two of the worst exercises you could possibly do to wreck your backs,  shoulders and neck. Do not do these ever!

1. Lat pull downs behind your head

Here is an exercise that you see people doing often in the gynasium and it’s very damaging to both the shoulders and the neck. When you do this exercise you end up haviong to pull the shoulders too far back  which overstretches the ligaments and capsule. You definitely do not want this! Ligaments should be tight to keep the joints stable and once they are over stretched they don’t tend to shrink back. Ligament laxity can then easily lead to rotator cuff problems.

I am sure many of you know of someone who has dislocated his shoulder not once but 2 or 3 times and then eventually needed surgery; this is because the joint has become very unstable due to the ligament laxity. You want tight ligaments but flexible muscles and tendons.

The other problem with doing lat pull downs behind your head is that it puts your neck in a forward position which is exactly what you do not want. This creates great strain on the cervical discs and ligaments and can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain, rotator cuff tears, impingements etc. If ‘putting your head in a ‘forward head position is a new term then look at the major cause of neck pain.

The alternative to this is doing the lat pull downs in front of your head, bringing the bar to your chest. Remember though to keep your back in a neutral position. To do this you need to use your abdominal muscles which means you are now also activating you core. The majority of people do this exercise with their back over arched and that puts pressure on the lower back tissues and facet joints leading to lower back problems.  I wrote about the core muscle in a previous blog and it’s especially important that you are using your core muscles when doing your workout.

Remember, for a healthy lower back its vital that you have  a strong and stable lower back and flexible mid back and hips, not the other way around.

2. Sit-ups
First of all, if you are doing sit-ups to strengthen your core-STOP!

I will not go into great detail in this post about the correct way to strengthen your core but I have written about the best alternative to sit-ups in another post. Remember also that your core muscles are not just your stomach muscles. In order to strengthen your core to stabilize and protect your back there are two other extremely important muscle groups that also need to be addressed. If you are just strengthening your stomach muscles you are setting yourself up for imbalances in the area where it is imperative that you have balance, stability and muscle endurance.
The main reason you should not be doing sit-ups is because it damages your back! The posterior forces that are produced on your lower back discs are enormous! What this means is, do enough sit-ups and you will be on a short course to lower back pain and if enough damage is done you will more than likely get sciatica. Sciatica is where the nerve is being pressed or ‘impinged’.

You already know that you should bend forwards with a straight back so that you don’t cause damage however a sit-up is doing the same motion as what you try to avoid when standing and bending.

The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety recommends that no more than 3400 newtons should be placed on the lower back because this or more than this amount of force is harmful to the lower back. Well guess what, a sit-up produces 3413 newtons of force. This means that every sit-up that you do is potentially damaging your back!

There are much better alternatives to doing sit-ups that will strengthen your stomach muscles without the harmful effects to your back.