Strengthen Neck

Strengthen Neck

Stretching your neck can help ease pain and improve your flexibility. Ask your doctor if it's safe for you to start stretching. Then jot down recommended stretches in your Journal.

Conditions: Neck pain

Symptoms: difficulty moving neck, stiffness, aching, pain, pain when tilting head, pain when turning head, base of neck pain

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: exercise

Duration

14

Pre-Stretch Warm-Up

Take a warm shower or bath before you stretch your neck. Or use a heating pad or warm towel. Heat loosens tight muscles, making stretching easier and more comfortable.

Prompt: Prep for exercise.

CTA: Get ready for neck stretches.

Conditions: Neck pain

Symptoms: difficulty moving neck, stiffness, aching, pain, pain when tilting head, pain when turning head, base of neck pain

Triggers:

Treatments: exercise, stretching, heat therapy, hot compress, heating pad, hot bath/shower

Categories: exercise

Side-to-Side Stretch

Stretching your neck may help relieve pain and make it more flexible. Try this stretch at home. It takes about a minute.

* Turn your head to the right slowly.

* Gently push your temple with your right hand to turn your head a bit more.

* Hold this position for 10 seconds and then release.

* Repeat 3 times, then change sides.

Prompt: Turn your head.

CTA: Ease neck pain with this stretch.

Conditions: Neck pain

Symptoms: difficulty moving neck, stiffness, aching, pain, pain when tilting head, pain when turning head, base of neck pain

Triggers:

Treatments: exercise, stretching, range-of-motion exercises

Categories: exercise

Ear-to-Ear Head Tilt

Give your neck a gentle stretch to help ease pain. You can do this exercise anytime, anywhere. Tilt your right ear to your right shoulder as far as you can.

* Using right hand, reach over top of your head toward the ear and gently pull, lowering right ear closer to shoulder.  

* Hold this position for 10 seconds.

You may feel slight discomfort during the stretch, but you should feel looser and better after.  If you have more pain, stop and consult your health care professional.

* Repeat 3 times then change to your left side and repeat 3 times.

Prompt: Do head tilts.

CTA: Try this stretch to ease pain.

Conditions: Neck pain

Symptoms: difficulty moving neck, stiffness, aching, pain, pain when tilting head, pain when turning head, base of neck pain, side of neck pain

Triggers:

Treatments: exercise, stretching, range-of-motion exercises

Categories: exercise

Neck Stretch Bow

Here's a neck stretch you can do in less than 60 seconds. This simple stretch may help relieve neck pain and improve flexibility.

* Standing or sitting tall, gently bend your neck bringing chin towards your chest. Make sure to keep your shoulders relaxed.

* With both hands on back of your head, gently push, bringing your chin closer to your chest

* Hold for 10 seconds.

You may feel slight discomfort during the stretch but should feel looser and better after.  If you have more pain, stop and consult your health care professional.

* Release and repeat 3 times.

Prompt: Bow your head.

CTA: Take a minute for neck pain.

Conditions: Neck pain

Symptoms: difficulty moving neck, stiffness, aching, pain, pain when tilting head, pain when turning head, base of neck pain, side of neck pain

Triggers:

Treatments: exercise, stretching, range-of-motion exercises

Categories: exercise

Neck Stretch Nod

Use your bed or couch, or clear a spot on the floor for this neck stretch. It's a good way to help increase neck movement and ease pain.

* Lie down on your back.

* Put a pillow under your neck and head.

* Bend your knees.

* Keeping head on pillow, tuck your chin toward your chest like you are nodding.

* Hold for 10 seconds. Release.

* Repeat the stretch 3 times.

You may feel slight discomfort during the stretch but should feel looser and better after.  If you have more pain, stop and consult your health care professional.

Prompt: Nod your head.

CTA: Grab a pillow for this stretch.

Conditions: Neck pain

Symptoms: difficulty moving neck, stiffness, aching, pain, pain when tilting head, pain when turning head, base of neck pain, side of neck pain

Triggers:

Treatments: exercise, stretching, range-of-motion exercises

Categories: exercise

30-Minute Fitness

Did you know that exercise helps treat neck pain?Strength and resistance exercises can help reduce pain and disability. Overall fitness is important too. Getting 30 minutes of low-impact aerobic exercise -- such as walking, biking, or swimming -- every day can improve blood flow, keeping your spine healthy. Ask your doctor or physical therapist what type of exercise is best for you.

Prompt: Move for your neck.

CTA: Exercises for a healthy spine.

Conditions: Neck pain

Symptoms: difficulty moving neck, stiffness, aching, pain, pain when tilting head, pain when turning head, base of neck pain, side of neck pain

Triggers:

Treatments: exercise, muscle strengthening, stretching, physical therapy, aerobic exercise, biking, stationary biking, swimming, walking

Categories: exercise

Ease Your Pain

This exercise helps ease neck and back pain.

* Stand or sit tall in a chair.

* With arms at side, bend elbows so palms are up like holding a platter.  Keeping elbows at side rotate arms so hands are out to side.

* Gently bring your elbows back, pinching your shoulder blades together. Make sure to relax your shoulders.

* Hold for 3 seconds, then relax and repeat 10 times.

Prompt: Make a "W."

CTA: Stretch your back and neck.

Conditions: Neck pain

Symptoms: difficulty moving neck, stiffness, aching, pain, pain when tilting head, pain when turning head, base of neck pain, side of neck pain

Triggers:

Treatments: exercise, muscle strengthening, stretching, physical therapy, aerobic exercise, biking, stationary biking, swimming, walking

Categories: exercise

Pectoral Stretch

This chest stretch helps release tension in the neck and shoulders.

* Stand in a doorway, with one foot in front.

* Bend your arms about 90 degrees at the elbow, and place your palms and elbows on the sides of the door frame.

* Lean forward with your weight on the front foot to feel your chest muscles stretch.

* Hold for 10 seconds. Release.

You may feel slight discomfort during the stretch but should feel looser and better after.  If you have more pain, stop and consult your health care professional.

Repeat 3 times.

Prompt: Stretch your chest.

CTA: Try this chest opener.

Conditions: Neck pain

Symptoms: difficulty moving neck, stiffness, aching, pain, pain when tilting head, pain when turning head, base of neck pain, side of neck pain

Triggers:

Treatments: exercise, muscle strengthening, stretching, physical therapy, aerobic exercise, biking, stationary biking, swimming, walking

Categories: exercise

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Ross Brakeville, DPT on September 29, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

Arthritis Foundation: "Chest Stretches for Neck Pain and Back Pain."

American Physical Therapy Association: "What You Need to Know About Neck Pain." 

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Neck Sprain."

MedlinePlus: "Neck Pain."

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