Having stronger neck muscles can help control the whipping motion of the head, which in turn controls the velocity of the brain moving inside the skull. Learn more about why strengthening the neck muscles is part of any concussion rehabilitation program.

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Benefits of Neck Strength

Working to strengthen the neck muscles is an important part of any concussion rehabilitation program. In addition, it provides a layer of protection to ward off neck injuries in sports.

If you get hit in the head, the dispersion of the impact and the force must go somewhere. The neck is a great shock absorber and a great mechanism for decelerating the movement of the head.

Having stronger neck muscles can help control the whipping motion of the head, which in turn controls the velocity of the brain moving inside the skull.

How to Strengthen Your Neck: 4 Phases

Therapeutic exercise bands of varying resistance are used instead of weights because they allow you to do functional movements used in your sport or everyday life. They are safer than hanging weights, which can compress the spine and neck.

To do these stabilization exercises, one end of the therapeutic band is placed into a door jam. The other end is attached to a head harness. Please note that protective eyewear should be worn while doing these exercises.

The person wearing the head harness can then do the following exercises to work various muscle groups in the neck, back, and shoulders:

  1. Isometric — stagnant bracing exercises
  2. Isotonic — normal contraction of muscles
  3. Functional — simulation of movements used during your sport, while having load on your neck
  4. Over Speed/Reaction Training — deceleration exercises, used for late stage rehabilitation, prior to return-to-play

About Sports Medicine

Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.