Written by Dr Courtnay Wood (Osteopath) and Dr Casey Beaumont (Osteopath)
Activating your deep neck flexor (DNF) muscles!
The deep neck flexor (DNF) muscles consist of four muscles that aid in neck stability and upper body posture. When these muscles fatigue, they become deconditioned and strain the upper body, neck and head. This can result in tension headaches, upper back pain and stiffness, neck pain and jaw tension.
You can help to prevent “neck (tension) causing” headaches and pains by periodically concentrating on a DNF activation exercise.
1. Start by laying on your back with a small rolled up towel under the base of your skull
2. Gently press the base of your skull into the pillow, tucking your chin into your neck
3. Imagine lengthening through the back of your neck as you do this
4. Flattening your tongue along the top of your palate enhances the activation of these muscles
You can also do this sitting up!
1. Sitting up, gently draw the base of your skull back,
while tucking your chin into your neck to create a double chin
2. Imagine you are being pulled up by a length of string;
lengthening through the back of your neck
** Doing this in the car against the head rest provides good proprioceptive feedback
Now you have the DNFs sorted out! How about bringing it all together?!
And center all of you:
*see what we did there?! :P
1. Tee pee stand, it brings your hips over both your legs- EVENLY.
2. Shoulder blades together and down, bring your shoulders/torso over your pelvis.
3. DNF activation brings your ears over your shoulders.
Now, take a deep breath! Relax your jaw…
We know you’ve got this!
OTHER postural aids:
If you’re not sure about your desk set up, check out our office ergos blog here:
WE love stability discs to help if you’re a sloucher!!
A stability or balance disc is a small inflatable disc, similar to an exercise ball, that is used like a cushion for active sitting. It is predominately beneficial for people in occupations that require prolonged sitting as it sustains active engagement of the postural muscles through the lower back, thoracic spine, head and neck. As we know, the longer we sit the less we actively use our muscles, they switch off and no longer provide correct support through the spine. Using a stability disc is a great challenge for seated balance and core/postural muscle engagement. It also works well alongside a sit/stand desk!
In addition to using it as a cushion, it can also be used to train balance, core stability (glutes, abs, paraspinal muscles) and strength/rehabilitation. Performing exercises on a stability disc creates an unstable surface that challenges your muscles to work harder to maintain balance.
Got a standing desk?!
Simply setting a standing posture alarm can make a huge difference!!
Lunch break and nice weather?!
Why not break up your day and take yourself for a 10-15mins walk.
Every little bit counts!
See you in the clinic!
The Resilient Health Team
**Sketched images commissioned from @thejaquesstudio - with our not as impressive additions!