Neck Exercises for Neck Pain

Many people hold tension in their necks and shoulders, leading to stiffness, bad posture and tension headaches. Neck pain is common; it limits function and is costly. Exercise therapy is a widely used treatment for neck pain. There appears to be a role for exercises in the treatment of neck pain. Neck strain (cervical strain, sometimes called ‘whiplash’) is a stretching injury to the muscles and ligaments of the neck. It can occur when the head is forceably bent forward, back, or sideways. Or the neck can be strained when the head simply bobbles back and forth from a sudden stop. It's treated with the same principles as other orthopedic injuries: rest and ice, then early activity and strengthening exercises. Think of it as a ‘sprained ankle’ in your neck.

Neck Exercise:

a) Sit comfortably. With your shoulders relaxed and your chin towards your chest, turn your chin to the right shoulder as far as is comfortable. Do not compress the back of the neck. Hold for about 30 seconds, repeat to the other side. Repeat 5 times.

b) Sit comfortably, shoulders relaxed. Take your ear down towards your right shoulder, relaxing the neck as much as possible. Feel the stretch on the opposite side. Hold for about 30 seconds and release. Repeat to the other side. Repeat 5 times. c) Sitting comfortably, lift the sternum and chin towards the ceiling . Allow the head to drop back as far as is comfortable. Relax the shoulders. Exhale, bring the head back to center, then drop the chin towards the chest, allowing the back of the neck to lengthen. Hold, release. Repeat 5 times.

Do each movement slowly five times, resting a short time in between each set of movements. Do two or three times a day although more often can be useful. They need to be practiced regularly to have a lasting effect.


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