The following exercises help to restore the movement and muscle support of your neck and improve your posture.
If you experience an increase or change in your symptoms whilst you are performing the exercises, stop the exercise and talk to your therapist.
Top Tips when performing your exercises:
- Move slowly and smoothly, without sudden jerky movements
- Keep your mouth and jaw relaxed and lips together
- Gently hold your shoulders back and down to maintain a relaxed shoulder posture
- Work equally in both directions when performing the exercises
- Spend a little more time exercising towards the stiffer side
Each exercise programme prescription will be as follows:
REPS. – Number of repetitions or exercises in a set
SETS – Number of times set is performed
FREQ. – Number of times a day
EXERCISES TO BE PERFORMED LYING DOWN
1) ‘Chin Tuck/Neck Retraction’
Aim: To improve the control of neck movements.
Lie on your back with your neck supported by a pillow or rolled up towel and knees bent, gently, with your feet placed flat on the ground. Push your neck gently into the towel, feel with your hands the muscles at the front of the neck tighten. Giving yourself a double chin. Do not lift the back and the head. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 10 times.
2) ‘Head Rotation’
Aim: To improve the control of neck movements from side to side.
Lying on your back with your head supported on a pillow and knees bent, gently turn your head from one side to the other (10 second right and 10 seconds left). Gradually try and turn your head further round each time until the side of your face is able to rest on the pillow.
3) ‘The Nodding Exercise’
Aim: To gently strengthen the deep neck muscles.
Lying on your back with your head supported on a pillow and knees bent with feet placed flat on the ground, gently and slowly nod your head forward. Use your hand to feel the muscles at the front of your neck. Just before you feel the front muscles tighten, stop and hold this position for 10 seconds then relax. If you find this too hard, start by holding it for 5 seconds and build it up gradually to 10 seconds.
4) ‘Posture Correction’
Aim: To improve your sitting posture whilst at work, in the car or at home. This will help prevent and ease muscle pain and tension in your neck and shoulders.
Pull your stomach in and sit up in the chair, draw your shoulder blades back and down, then tuck your chin in.
Practise holding for 10 seconds.
5) ‘Head Rotations’
Aim: To improve the movement in your neck from side to side.
Whilst sitting in the correct posture, gently turn your head from one side to the other. Gradually turn your head further and further until you can see over your shoulder without feeling restricted. Repeat 10 times. Take 10 seconds to turn your head to the left and 10 seconds to the right.
6) ‘Side Bending’
Aim: To gently stretch the muscles of your neck.
Whilst sitting in the correct posture (see 4), gently lean your head towards your shoulder with your head tilted forward slightly, until you feel a gentle stretch in the muscles on the opposite side of your neck. Hold this position for up to 10 seconds to the left and then to the right.
7) ‘Upwards and Downwards’
Aim: To improve the movement in your neck to look upwards and downwards.
Whilst sitting in the correct posture, (see 4), tuck your chin in, bend your head towards your chest by leading the movement with your chin (5 seconds). Next, bring your head back to the upright position, keeping your chin tucked in then gently roll your head back and look up towards the ceiling (5 seconds) Finally, return your head to the start position by leading with your chin. Repeat 10 times.