What should I avoid when doing range of motion exercises?

Gerald M. Silverman
Chiropractic Medicine
It is always prudent to begin range of motion exercises in a slow and measured manner. Never move, stretch, or turn in a bouncing, sudden, or jerking motion, and you will likely never have a problem with any of these exercises. Try to do too much too soon, and you run the risk of causing additional injury or aggravating an existing problem. As with all treatments, the primary and overriding concern is to do no harm. Keep that in mind, and you will keep out of trouble. Directed range of motion exercises are not stretching, and if done correctly they shouldn't cause any sharp pain. If they do, or if you feel worse the following day, then they should be stopped.

It is also important not to combine bending, turning, or leaning motions into one continuous movement. For example, rolling your head around as if it were on a bobble-doll spring is unwise, may cause unnecessary strain, and is probably counterproductive. Performing any of the neck exercises in a rapid or uncontrolled manner may also make you feel light-headed or dizzy. If those symptoms persist with gentle movements, stop the exercises and consult with your physician. These procedures are designed to slowly restore movement, gently loosen adhesions, and gradually repolish surfaces. They are not aerobic activities or sporting events. Slow and steady is the key to success.

Lastly, for many patients the neck exercises will elicit a grinding, clicking, or sandpapery noise coming from your neck. Don't get upset. These noises are extremely common, and nothing is being crunched, ground, broken, or chipped away. Initially, as your range of motion increases, so may the noises. After several days of doing the exercises, and as the ranges of motion become smoother and more complete, the noises will begin to diminish and eventually may disappear altogether.
Your Miraculous Back: A Step-By-Step Guide to Relieving Neck & Back Pain

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Your Miraculous Back: A Step-By-Step Guide to Relieving Neck & Back Pain

Many of us complain about our 'bad back,' but this book argues that our backs are, without exception, amazing examples of bioengineering, capable of dramatic feats of strength, flexibility, and...

If you’re performing range of motion exercises and have certain limitations, make sure you’re aware of what you should and should not do. Avoid forced, jerky, or sudden movements. Keep it nice and smooth, and start off slow. The chances are small that you will injure yourself performing range of motion exercises.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.