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Kinked Neck (Neck Strain) – 3 Minute Injury Report

by | Sep 1, 2022 | 3 Minute Injury Report, neck pain, News, strain

What Causes a Kinked Neck (Neck Strain)?

Besides being an awesome band name, a kinked neck can also be a pretty painful condition. Some of muscles that attach at the back of your skull go down into your shoulder and your shoulder blade area. These muscles can get really tight and when they’re tight, they’re usually irritated. This can happen from a variety of different ways. Going back to the band names, maybe you went to a metal concert last night you were really getting into it with some head banging, and torqued your neck. It can also happen from something much less exciting – sleeping. You may have slept in an odd position with your neck a bit twisted, or your pillow is too high or too low. This can cause those muscles to over stretch and get irritated, or be cramped up and shortened, which can also cause irritation.  Muscles like to be moved, so being in a fully lengthened or fully shortened for the entire night can be an issue. Since the muscles run the whole distance down to the shoulder blade in some areas, the pain can radiate in a large area and include the neck, upper back, and shoulder.

What do I do about it?

The best thing to do about this is getting those muscles moving. Here are a few gently movements you can do frequently, to reduce the discomfort.

Diagonal Neck Stretch

An easy way to picture this one is to think of it as the “sniff your armpit stretch.” Move your head in a diagonal motion, tilting your chin down toward the armpit. You should feel a stretch down the side of the neck on the side opposite the direction your head is moving. Hold it only a few then bring your head back to a neutral position. This should help those muscles to kind of loosen up by going back and forth between a lengthened and shortened position. You likely won’t be able to go very far at first, but as you get warmed up that should improve and your motion with increase.

Wall Angels

Remember how fun it was to make snow angels as a kid? Or as an adult, we don’t judge. While standing with your back against a wall, so the motion of a snow angel with your arms, but keep your elbows bent.  Try sliding your elbows and your pinkies on the wall, or as close as possible. This exercise works those muscles in between the shoulder blades which can help to decrease some of that pain.

Chin Nod

A super simple, straightforward exercise, that does wonders for neck pain. You can also do this one by standing against the wall. If that is too difficult, you can do this laying down. All you have to do is nod your chin down, and then back to neutral. The most important part is to keep the back of your head in contact with the wall (or floor) the whole time. If you try the motion with your head staying against the wall, and then with the head coming off the wall, you’ll notice a big difference. This will stretch the back part of those muscles in the neck and help to decrease the tension and the irritation in the area.

Do these three exercises at least two to three times a day. Getting some motion in there and getting those muscles working a little bit will really make a difference after a few days.

If you tried these things and they were helpful, we would love to hear about! Contact us at the information below and let us know. If you still have pain, give us a call so we can help you today! See you soon.

-Dr. Jordan

Levy HI. Cervical pain syndromes: primary care diagnosis and management. Compr Ther. 2000 Summer;26(2):82-8. doi: 10.1007/s12019-000-0016-7. PMID: 10822786.

Binder AI. Neck pain. BMJ Clin Evid. 2008 Aug 4;2008:1103. PMID: 19445809; PMCID: PMC2907992.