Your healthcare provider may recommend exercises to help you heal. Talk to your healthcare provider or physical therapist about which exercises will best help you and how to do them correctly and safely.
You may do all of these exercises right away but avoid any movements that increase your pain.
Neck rotation with flexion
Right side: Turn your head to the right and clasp your hands behind your head. Let the weight of your arms pull your chin to the right side of your chest. Relax. Hold for a count of 15. Do this 3 times.
Left side: Turn your head to the left and clasp your hands behind your head. Let the weight of your arms pull your chin to the left side of your chest. Relax. Hold for a count of 15. Do this 3 times.
Chin tuck: Place your fingertips on your chin and gently push your head straight back as if you are trying to make a double chin. Keep looking forward as your head moves back. Hold 5 seconds and repeat 5 times.
Scalene stretch: Sit or stand and clasp both hands behind your back. Lower your left shoulder and tilt your head toward the right until you feel a stretch. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then come back to the starting position. Then lower your right shoulder and tilt your head toward the left. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each side.
Neck rotation stretch
Right side: Rotate your neck by looking over your right shoulder. Lift your right hand and place your palm on the left side of your chin. Push your chin with your palm toward your right shoulder. Hold for a count of 10. Do this 3 times.
Left side: Rotate your neck by looking over your left shoulder. Lift your left hand and place your palm on the right side of your chin. Push your chin with your palm toward your left shoulder. Hold for a count of 10. Do this 3 times.
Scapular squeeze: While sitting or standing with your arms by your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 15.
Thoracic extension: Sit in a chair and clasp both arms behind your head. Gently arch backward and look up toward the ceiling. Repeat 10 times. Do this several times each day.
Head lift with neck curl: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tuck your chin and lift your head about 3 inches off the floor, keeping your shoulders flat on the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Try to work up to holding for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat 5 times.
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Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2015-01-13 Last reviewed: 2015-01-12
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Neck Spasm Exercises: References
Dutton M. Dutton’s orthopaedic examination evaluation and intervention; 3rd ed. McGraw Hill Professional; 2012.
Jull GA, Falla D, Vicenzino B, Hodges PW. The effect of therapeutic exercise on activation of the deep cervical flexor muscles in people with chronic neck pain. Man Ther. 2009 Dec;14(6):696-701. Epub 2009 Jul 25.