Neck Pain Exercises To Restore Movement And Muscle Control

If you have suffered an injury to your neck such as whiplash or if you are experiencing neck pain, the following neck pain exercises are recommended and may help to heal your neck. Neck pain exercises should be performed in a slow and controlled manner and you should stop if you notice new pain or if your neck pain increases. The exercises to help with neck pain are designed to restore the movement and muscle control and to reduce unnecessary postural and muscle strain.

Recommended To Help With Neck Pain Exercises

Neck Exercises Book
neck exercise book

Neck Exerciser
neck exerciser

Neck System Exerciser
neck system exerciser

When you are performing the neck pain exercises, you should stop and consult a health care professional if you notice any of the following:

  • Dizziness or light-headedness, blurring of vision, feeling of fainting or any kind of disorientation
  • Pain shooting down your arm, numbness or weakness in your arm(s) or hand(s)
  • An increase in severity of neck pain
  • If the neck pain exercises are producing persistent headaches.

For each of the neck pain exercises:

  • Use a slow and even motion, without any sudden jerks. The most important thing is a meticulous attention to control and precision.
  • Hold your mouth and jaw relaxed: lips lightly touching, teeth slightly apart – not clenching, while your tongue rests softly upon the roof of your mouth.
  • Relax your shoulders muscles backward and downward when doing the neck pain exercises
  • When performing the exercises, try moving an equal distance to either side. If one side feels stiff and more difficult, try moving gently into the stiffness. Move to that direction a little more often, but no significant pain increase.
  • Some discomfort can be expected, however, the exercises should not cause severe pain.

The Neck Pain Exercises

Neck pain exercises lying down: Lay down and rest your head on a comfortable pillow with your knees bent and feet on the floor.

1) The chin nodding neck pain exercises:

chin nodding exercises relaxing part

Slowly and gently perform a nodding motion with your head like you are motioning “yes”. With your hand, check the front muscles and stop the nodding motion when you feel these muscles begin to contract.

Hold the nodding position for about 5 seconds, then relax by gently moving your head to the starting position. You may do 10 repetitions.

You should note this is the first of the neck pain exercises for a reason. This motion is very important in restoring control of deeper muscles that is often lost with poor posture, whiplash injury and chronic neck pain. This can be done in a sitting or standing position and is great for taking short breaks if you do computer work. This part of the exercises may have an immediate effect in reducing neck pain. It requires some time to practice and learn the correct motion. Please take a short time to review a more detailed view using the correct motion for this neck exercise.

2) Head rotation neck pain exercises:

head rotation neck exercises head rotation exercises

Carefully rotate by turning your head from one side to the other. Be sure to look in the direction your turning. Try each time to gradually turn your head so that your chin lines up with the shoulders, viewing the wall in line with your shoulders. You can do 10 repetitions to each side.

3) Shoulder blade exercises:

These exercises help relaxation and easing of tension in the top portion of the shoulder muscles.

shoulder blade exercises shoulder exercises

Lay on your right side, arm resting up comfortably on pillows.

Retract the left shoulder blade back and across your chest to the middle of your back using a rollin motion. Hold for 10 seconds. Do 5 repetitions.

Repeat this while lying on your left side for the right shoulder blade.

Neck pain exercises while sitting:

4) Posture position exercise:

posture neck exercises

Make corrections to your posture by gently straightening your low back and pelvis. Carefully pull the shoulder blades backward and downward. Softly tuck your chin inward. Hold this posture gently for 10 seconds.

This position helps prevent and eases muscle pain and tension in the neck and shoulder muscles. Repeat this maneuver on a regular basis – about every half hour during the day if possible. These exercises can be done at work, in a vehicle and just sitting at home.

5) Neck retraction exercises:

Sit in a good posture as shown in # 4.

neck retraction exercises neck exercises

Softly pull the head backward while moving your chin straight back in a sliding motion, making sure to keep your nose pointed straight forward. You should be able to feel this motion in the base of the neck as your neck positions upward and elongated. Do 10 repetitions every hour while you sit.

Neck motion exercises: Make sure you are sitting in the postural position described in exercise # 4. For the exercises below, do 10 repetitions each side.

6) Rotation neck pain exercises:

neck movement exercises rotation neck exercises

Softly rotate the head from one side to the other, looking at the direction you are turning to, gradually progressing to see the wall line up with your shoulders. This is a similar exercise to the one in the lying down position. Your neck should stay elongated. Do 10 repetitions every hour when seated.

7) Side bending neck pain exercises:

side bending neck exercises bending neck exercises

Carefully bend your head to your shoulder, feeling a gentle stretch in the side muscles of your neck. Performing to each side.

8) Bending and extension neck pain exercises:

bending and extension neck exercises bending and extension neck exercise

Slowly bend your head to your chest, leading the movement with your chin. Move the chin first, bringing the head back to the upright position, then gently rolling it backward, looking upward to the ceiling. Again, lead with your chin and return the head to an upright position.

Neck strengthening exercises: (Exercises 9-11) should only be done later in recovery. If you are unsure when to start these, ask your health care professional.

9) Neck strengthening exercises (isometric, no movement exercise):

neck strengthening exercises strengthening neck exercise

Again, sitting in correct posture, make sure your chin relaxes and points slightly downward. Put your right hand on your right cheek area and slowly turn your head into your hand as you look over your right shoulder, however, no motion should take place. Hold this mild contraction of the muscles for five seconds only using about 10 to 20% of your strength. Repeat this using your left hand on the left cheek area. Do 5 repetitions to each side.

Neck strengthening exercises with 4-point kneeling:

4 point kneeling neck strengthening

Assume a 4 point position while kneeling. Start by making sure your knees are placed under your hips with the hands under the shoulders. Your lower back must be relaxed in a naturally formed arch. Carefully pull your stomach area to your spine using only 10% strength. Push gently through the shoulder blades so your upper back is level. Pull the shoulders gently away from your ears, toward your hips. Lift your head up level with your shoulders, keeping a gently tucked chin or nodding position. When you are capable of holding the 4 point kneeling posture, proceed with the neck motion exercises below:

10) Neck bending and extension exercises in 4-point kneeling:

neck bending and extension exercise 4 point kneeling neck bending and extension

Assume the safe 4 point kneeling position and carefully look up toward the ceiling as much as possible. Hold this for 5 to 10 seconds, then slowly bend your neck with the chin nodding action. Continue with the neck bending motion as far as you can go comfortably, trying to touch your chin to your chest. Keep holding the relaxed low back and shoulder blade position detailed above. Do 5 to 10 repetitions.

11) Neck rotation exercises in 4-point kneeling:

neck rotation exercises

Assuming the 4 point kneeling position, slowly turn your neck to one side while maintaining a gentle chin nodding position. Make sure the head remains level with your body, not allowing it to fall down. Doing this exercise correctly, you will be looking over your shoulder at the end of the motion. You may do this part of the neck pain exercises with a mirror so check your head position. Repeat to the other side. Do 5 to 10 repetitions.