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December 2021 Issue
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Getting rid of that pain in the neck

Tuck your chin to reset your head position. Photo: Samantha Sutton

A stiff and sore neck is a common tramping ailment that can affect seasoned pros and amateurs. Physio Samantha Sutton demonstrates how to deal with it

There’s a number of things that can lead to ‘pains in the neck’. A poorly fitted pack, a heavy pack, not doing enough strength, mobility training or physical preparation for your adventure are some. 

I’ve found that some tweaks and stretches for your upper back can work wonders on your neck. This is mainly due to the two areas being interconnected. You may have heard people talking about fascial connections, or neuromuscular connections. This is what you are working on with upper back stretches, and there’s a direct impact to the region above: your neck.

Here are my favourite ‘go to’ techniques for neck pain.

Stretch your upper back while lying on your pack. Photo: Samanth Sutton

Thoracic extension

Place your pack on the ground and lie on top of it from the middle of your back to your head. Stretch your arms out to the side, palms up, head supported and knees bent. Relax in this position for several minutes. Move the pack a little lower to increase the stretch.

I normally recommend deep breathing while doing this to encourage your nervous system to calm down a little, too.

Tuck your chin to reset your head position. Photo: Samantha Sutton

Chin tucks

This is as simple as it sounds and I like to think of this as a reset technique. 

Standing, sitting, or lying, imagine you are creating a ‘double chin’ and simply tuck your chin back. Gently repeat this periodically throughout the day. 

Here, you’re encouraging correction of that tired forward-head position that we all adopt when tramping. You’re also targeting potentially irritated nerves that could be contributing to neck symptoms. 

Tuck your chin to reset your head position. Photo: Samantha Sutton