April 4, 2023 Dr. Danny Govenar

THE REAL PAIN IN THE NECK: FACET SYNDROME

Cervical facet syndrome is a common condition that affects the joints between the vertebrae in the neck. These joints, known as the cervical facet joints, are responsible for allowing movement in the neck and supporting the weight of the head. When these joints become inflamed or damaged, it can cause pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. This condition can be caused by numerous factors, including injury, degeneration, and wear and tear.

Symptoms of cervical facet syndrome can include pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back, headaches, and limited range of motion in the neck. Treatment for cervical facet syndrome may include chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, and even over the counter medications.

In this blog, we will discuss the three best exercises for cervical facet syndrome.

Exercise 1: Chin Tuck

The chin tuck is my number one exercise for facet syndrome. It is a great way to help alleviate pain and stiffness in the neck and upper back. To perform this exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Start by sitting up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Place your hands on your chin and gently tuck your chin in towards your chest. Keep your eyes level.
  3. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then release.
  4. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.

✅There may be some pain and stiffness while performing this exercise. Start slow and perform as pain free as possible at first. In other words, don’t go too far into it.

The chin tuck exercise helps to strengthen the muscles in the neck and upper back, which can help to reduce pain and stiffness. This exercise helps create a small amount of separation between these small facet joints allowing for more motion. Lastly, it helps to improve posture, which can help to prevent further damage to the cervical facet joints.

Exercise 2: Shoulder Blade Squeeze

The shoulder blade squeeze exercise is another fantastic way to help alleviate pain and stiffness in the neck and upper back. To perform this exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Start by sitting up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Slowly bring your shoulder blades together, as if you are trying to squeeze a pencil between them.
  3. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then release.
  4. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times.

✅Maintain a gentle chin tuck while performing this exercise to reinforce proper posture.

The shoulder blade squeeze exercise helps to strengthen the muscles in the upper back and shoulders, which can help to reduce pain and stiffness in the neck. It also helps to improve posture, which can help to prevent further damage to the cervical facet joints.

Exercise 3: Neck Rotation

Neck rotation is a movement we do multiple times per day! The neck rotation exercise is a simple but effective way to help alleviate pain and stiffness in the neck. To perform this exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Start by sitting up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Slowly turn your head to the left as far as you can without causing pain.
  3. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then return your head to the center.
  4. Repeat this exercise on the right side.
  5. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times on each side.

✅Apply gentle pressure to your chin at end range to increase the stretch.

The neck rotation exercise helps to improve and restore normal range of motion in the neck, which can help to reduce neck pain and stiffness. It also helps to strengthen the muscles in the neck, which can help to prevent further damage to the cervical facet joints.

Cervical facet syndrome can be a painful and debilitating condition, but with the right treatment plan and exercise, it can be managed effectively. The three exercises discussed in this blog – the chin tuck, shoulder blade squeeze, and neck rotation – are simple but effective ways to help alleviate pain and stiffness in the neck and upper back.

Consistency is everything! To get results and combat these positions we are stuck in all day you must do these often. As with any exercise program, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your individual needs.

At SD Body Fix we have been successfully treating neck pain and cervical facet syndrome for over 20 years. If you need help or guidance with your neck pain, you can click the button below!

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