Physical therapy and neck pain, upper back pain

Neck pain treatments/exercises

Rear view of a young man holding his neck in pain, isolated on w

I get headaches, my neck/upper back hurts…Help!

July 28, 2016


Jonathan Keller physical therapist

New research is out from several places about 5 exercises that seem to keep on helping especially women with neck, upper back pain and headaches.  There was a study in Demark and they found 5 exercises that helped with these symptoms.


A major reason is likely due to bad posture with typing and reading or watching TV, driving.  Bad posture is shown above.  For correct posture see the below picture.


•Other issues that may play a role in the clinical picture of cervical myofascial pain include endocrine dysfunction, chronic infections, nutritional deficiencies, poor posture, and psychological stress. Duyur Cakit B, Genc H, Altuntas V, et al. Disability and related factors in patients with chronic cervical myofascial pain. Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Feb 18.

A. Shoulder Flexion  3 lbs

Hold 3 lbs of weight up to 90 degrees 3 sets of 10

B. Shoulder scaption 3 lbs up to 90 degrees 3 sets of 10

C. Middle trapezius exercises leaning over at the trunk 3 lbs squeeze the shoulder blades togethter

D. Upper trapezius exercises 5 lbs shrugs 3 sets of 10

E.  Wrist extension 2 lbs 3 sets of 10

These 5 exercises helped reduce neck pain according to this study and other studies I have seen lately and experienced in treating patients with neck pain over the past 15 years.  See the research below.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011; 12: 205.

Published online 2011 Sep 21. doi:  10.1186/1471-2474-12-205

PMCID: PMC3188479

Implementation of neck/shoulder exercises for pain relief among industrial workers: A randomized controlled trial

Mette K Zebis,1 Lars L Andersen,2 Mogens T Pedersen,3 Peter Mortensen,2 Christoffer H Andersen,1,2 Mette M Pedersen,2 Marianne Boysen,2 Kirsten K Roessler,1 Harald Hannerz,2 Ole S Mortensen,2,4 and Gisela Sjøgaard1


High-intensity strength training relying on principles of progressive overload can be successfully implemented at industrial workplaces, and results in significant reductions of neck and shoulder pain


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