Back to Exercise Library.

Neck Exercises

The best way to prevent injury is by having strong, flexible muscles and joints that resist strain and injury. The back and neck like movement. Putting the back in a static position for long periods of time, such as sitting at a computer screen for hours, increases the risk of back or neck strain. The best preventive medicine for neck and back strain is movement. Take frequent breaks away from the computer screen to stretch.

Here are some easy stretching exercises for simple neck pain that can relieve simple cases of neck ache. Some can even be used on the job to relieve neck strain.

Neck Exercise Menu

 

Neck Glide

Neck Glide

Start with neck straight. Slowly slide your chin forward. Hold for 5 seconds and return to starting position. Do 10 times.

 

top

Neck Extension

Neck Extension

Without arching your back, slowly move your head backward so you are looking upward. Hold for five seconds. Return to starting position. This is a good exercise to do during work to prevent neck strain.

 

top

Neck Rotation

Neck Turn

Start by looking straight ahead. Slowly turn your head to the left. Hold for ten seconds, then return to starting position. Then, slowly turn you head to the other side. Hold for 10 seconds. Return to starting position. Do 10 repetitions. This is a good exercise to do during work, especially if you have to keep your head in a steady position for extended periods, as in working at a computer. Do this exercise every half hour to prevent neck strain.

 

top

Lateral Extension

Neck lateral

Start by looking straight ahead. Slowly lean your head to the left. Using your left hand for resistance, use the muscles in your neck to press against it. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Then, slowly lean your head to the other side. Hold for 5 seconds. Return to starting position. Do ten repetitions. This is a good exercise to do during work, especially if you have to keep your head in a steady position for extended periods, as in working at a computer. Do this exercise every half hour to prevent neck strain.

 

top

Shoulder Shrugs

Neck Shrugs

Start by looking straight ahead. Slowly raise both shoulders up. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Do 10 repetitions. This is a good exercise to do during work, especially if you have to keep your head in a steady position for extended periods, as in working at a computer. Do this exercise every half hour to prevent neck strain.

 

top

Tilted Forward Flexion

Neck Tilt

Start by looking straight ahead. Slowly lower your chin toward your chest. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Do 10 repetitions. This is a good exercise to do during work, especially if you have to keep your head in a steady position for extended periods, as when working at a computer. Do this exercise every half hour to prevent neck strain.

 

top

Deep Stretching

Neck Positioning

Sitting with good posture, let your head fall towards your shoulder. You can apply pressure with your hand as shown. You may also hold onto your chair with the opposite hand. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 3 times.

 

top

Resistance Presses

Neck Press

Neck resist

Keep your head in a neutral position at all times. Apply pressure to your head in the following positions for 5 seconds then relax. Flexion- place hand at forehead. Extension- place hand at back of head.

 

top

Towel Pull

Neck Towel

Place rolled towel around your neck, and hold ends with hands. Slowly look up as far as you can, rolling your head over the towel. Apply gentle pressure on towel to support cervical spine as you extend head back. Do not hold the position. Instead, return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.

 

top

NOTE: We recognize that people will diagnose and treat themselves. We have provided this medical information to make you more knowledgeable about nonsurgical aspects of care, the role of exercise in your long-term recovery, and injury prevention. In some cases exercise may be inappropriate. Remember, if you diagnose or treat yourself, you assume the responsibility for your actions. You should never do any exercise that causes increased pain. You should never do any exercise that places body weight on a weakened or injured limb or back.

 


Scott B. Phillips, MD is a neurological surgeon based in San Antonio who specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery, artificial disc replacement, carpal tunnel surgery, spinal cord stimulator implants and other brain disorders, including brain tumor and chiari decompression. Patients travel from Bexar County, San Marcos and South Texas, including Corpus Christi, Kingsville, McAllen and Brownsville for treatment of back pain, neck pain, brain tumor, carpal tunnel and epilepsy-related neurological problems. Dr. Scott Phillips provides second opinions for back surgery and neck surgery, and emphasizes non-surgical treatment options in advance of spine surgery. Where surgery is necessary because of a herniated disc or spinal instability, Dr. Phillips uses minimally invasive spine surgery techniques and advanced technology like the artificial disc to help patients relieve pain symptoms and get back to activity. This spine neurosurgeon expertise enables many patients to have outpatient spine surgery and be home the same day.