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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 five seconds and return to starting position. Do ten times.


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.

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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 your head to the other side. Hold for ten 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.

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Lateral Extension

Neck lateral
Start by looking straight ahead. Slowly lean your head to the left. Using your left hand for resistance, and use the muscles in your neck to press against it. Hold for five seconds, then return to starting position. Then, slowly lean your head to the other side. Hold for five 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.

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Shoulder Shrugs

Neck Shrugs

Start by looking straight ahead. Slowly raise both shoulders up. Hold for five seconds, then 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.

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Tilted Forward Flexion

forward flexion

Start by looking straight ahead. Slowly lower your chin toward your chest. Hold for five seconds, then 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.

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Neck Sidebend with Pressure

Neck PositioningSit or stand. Keeping face forward, lean your head to the right, and use the right hand to add pressure. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat stretch to each side, five times, alternating.

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Resistance Presses

Neck Press

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

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Towel Pull

Neck TowelPlace 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 ten times.

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NOTE: We recognize that people may diagnose and treat themselves. We have provided this medical information to make you more knowledgeable about non-surgical 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.

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Need more information on back and neck pain?
Click here to view resource books on spine problems, what causes back pain, what causes neck pain and when to see the doctor.

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