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.

zNeck Exercise Menu

 

Neck Glide

Neck Glide

Start with neck straight. Slowly slide your chin forward. Hold for 5 seconds and return to starting position. Do 10 times.

 

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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 you head to the other side. Hold for 10 seconds. Return to starting position. Do 10 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, use the muscles in your neck to press against it. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Then, slowly lean your head to the other side. Hold for 5 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 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Do 10 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

Neck Tilt

Start by looking straight ahead. Slowly lower your chin toward your chest. Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position. Do 10 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 when working at a computer. Do this exercise every half hour to prevent neck strain.

 

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Deep Stretching

Neck Positioning

Sitting with good posture, let your head fall towards your shoulder. You can apply pressure with your hand as shown. You may also hold onto your chair with the opposite hand. Hold 30 seconds, repeat 3 times.

 

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Resistance Presses

Neck Press

Neck resist

Keep your head in a neutral position at all times. Apply pressure to your head in the following positions for 5 seconds then relax. Flexion- place hand at forehead. Extension- place hand at back of head.

 

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Towel Pull

Neck Towel

Place 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 10 times.

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NOTE: We recognize that people will diagnose and treat themselves. We have provided this medical information to make you more knowledgeable about nonsurgical 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.

Physicians
  • Matthew J. Geck, MD
    • Matthew J. Geck MD is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon who has a practice focused exclusively on spine and scoliosis surgery.
  • John K. Stokes, MD
    • Dr. Stokes is a board-certified neurosurgeon, fellowship-trained in spinal surgery with a practice entirely focused on spinal surgery.
  • Eeric Truumees, MD
    • Dr. Eeric Truumees is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Texas Spine and Scoliosis in Austin, Texas. He specializes in cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine disorders
  • Eric Mayer, MD
    • Dr. Mayer is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who specializes in nonsurgical treatment of back pain and neck pain.
  • Lee E. Moroz, MD
    • Dr. Moroz is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who specializes in helping patients return to activity without having to resort to surgery.
  • Enrique B. Pena, MD
    • Dr. Pena is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who specializes in the non-surgical treatment of patients with back and neck problems.
What do Your Symptoms Indicate?
  • Red Flag Symptoms
    • Many back problems can improve on their own or with non-surgical treatment. They key is to understand which symptoms are emergencies and need to be seen immediately.
Brochures & Journals
  • Back to Life Journal
    • Subscribe to our Back to Life Journal to read information on the latest advances on back and neck pain treatment.
Home Remedy Book
  • Home Remedy Book
    • Have back or neck pain? Learn what causes symptoms and the home remedies that relieve pain. Texas Spine and Scoliosis mails out Home Remedy Books to residents throughout the Austin area.

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