Cervical Spine Retraction

Mckenzie method retraction - Try this first for neck pain

Cervical Spine Retraction, commonly called chin tucks by our patients, are one of the first lines of defense for neck pain when using Mckenzie method (AKA mechanical diagnosis & therapy) exercises to end range load neck pain cases. They can be performed standing or seated, but be careful to sit up tall and not allow yourself to slouch in your posture. This is important to achieve end range, which is the ultimate goal of all Mckenzie method exercises. 

The movement is simply driving your head backward, without tilting up or down. Think of your ears or the back of your head as a reference point, and drive them straight backwards, going as far as possible. It should feel like you're sliding your head backwards over your shoulders. 

We often coach patients to focus their vision on an object at eye level to keep from tilting your head. You can use your hand to add pressure as you drive your chin backwards, when appropriate. Be careful to only return back to a neutral position, and not push your head forward after each repetition. We tell patients to simply relax after pushing back. 

As with all end range loading exercises in physical therapy, pain during movement is okay, as long as it improves with more repetitions, doesn't spread further away from your spine, and doesn't make you feel any worse when you're finished.  Typical prescription is 10-15 repetitions every 2 hours throughout the day. 

Author
Dr. Todd Peterson, DC, Cert MDT. Dr. Todd Peterson Dr. Todd Peterson is a chiropractor and certified provider for Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy (MDT, aka the McKenzie Method). Dr. Peterson played football at the University of Nebraska, where he was a 4 year letter winner and Academic All American. He briefly played professional football in 2009 before returning to Chiropractic School in 2010. He earned his doctor of chiropractic (DC) degree from National University of Health Sciences in 2013, graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors.

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