Integrating Upper Cervical Flexion with Postural Exercises

chin nod with shoulder w exercise

Several weeks ago I published a quick video tip on a variation of the chin tuck exercise, the chin nod exercise.  I received a lot of nice feedback regarding the use of the nod and wanted to share the next phase of the progression, integrated the chin nod into exercises.

Just like any other aspect of our rehabilitation and corrective exercise programs, the ultimate goal should be to groove motor patterns with simple exercises and slowly integrate them into more complex functional movement patterns.  While the chin nod is a great choice to work on upper cervical flexion in those with postural adaptations and an upper body cross syndrome, it is really only a small part of the pattern.

We always talk about strengthening the lower trap and serratus and performing manual therapy on the pecs, subclavius, upper trap, and levator (just to name the big ones…).  The chin nod is also a simple way to set your posture prior to some of these activities.

As an example, I shot a quick clip on integrated the chin nod into the shoulder W exercise, which is fantastic for posterior cuff and lower trap strengthening, as well as opening up the anterior shoulder.  By adding the chin nod prior to performing the exercise, you essentially enhance the outcomes of the exercise by assuring proper alignment.

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This isn’t rocket science, but by integrating the chin nod into exercises like this, it really helps groove the correct motor pattern better.  Incidentally, this is one of my favorite exercises for those with cervicogenic headaches and neck pain.  Have them sit up tall in the car at red lights and perform this exercise.  Great, even without Theraband.  I even use this integrated chin nod and shoulder W exercise as my breaks while sitting at the computer!

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7 Responses to “Integrating Upper Cervical Flexion with Postural Exercises”

  1. Great post Mike. Depending on the patient’s limitation (stability vs mobility) would you ever recommend this (not just the nod as in your previous post) in supine (maybe on a half foam roller) to start out?

    Mike

  2. Sure, depending on their level. I usually make sure they can nod well and obtain proper upper cervical mobility before introducing the variable of other exercises, though.

  3. Great video and read. Thank you for the information. Will be back.

  4. Mike, have you thought about doing the nod, prior to the W? just similar to TrA firing prior to leg movements??
    just thinking out loud!

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