First, inhibit the muscles that may be tight/overactive via self-myofascial release. Typically, this technique would be performed with a foam roller, but due to the regions being addressed, hand-held devices (such as a Theracane) may work best.
Key regions that should be addressed using such a tool would be the upper trapezius (Figure 3) and levetor scapulae (Figures 4). If one also possesses rounded shoulders, foam rolling the thoracic spine (Figure 5) will also be important to help improve thoracic spine range of motion and decrease stress to the cervical spine.
Finally, perform an integrated exercise to improve muscle synergy to enhance neuromuscular efficiency and overall movement quality. This can be done by performing a ball cobra while maintaining proper cervical spine alignment (Figure 10). Perform 1-2 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
With individuals becoming more sedentary with the advancements in technology, neck pain is increasingly more common. It will be important for exercise professionals to perform assessments to identify potential muscle imbalances of the cervical spine that may need to be addressed through corrective exercise. By implementing basic flexibility and strengthening techniques to key regions of the cervical spine as well as teaching proper cervical spine posture, one can greatly reduce their risk for neck pain.