Physiotherapists believe strengthening exercises are an important part of treatment to relieve discomfort in the neck. They help to restore motion and relieve pain associated with stiffness by relaxing the muscles that produce pain. The exercises presented here focus on your neck. These exercises are not designed to strengthen you neck; however you should follow the exercises as prescribed by your Physiotherapist. Gradually increase the number of times you repeat each exercise but stop when fatigued.
- There may be additional exercises which could be helpful; these will be defined by your Physiotherapist.
- Avoid extremes of forward or backward position of the head and neck.
- Avoid rapid movements of the head and neck.
Exercises for Neck Injuries
- Static Loading Exercises: Chin Tuck
Deep neck flexor muscles are activated by lying down on the floor and simply tucking your chin to your Adam’s apple (or throat) without lifting your head. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat up to 10 times.
- Static Loading Exercises: Chin Tuck Head Lift
Once the chin tuck exercise is pain free and your Therapist wants you to start loading your neck, you simply tuck your chin and lift your head 1 inch off the floor and hold as long as you can within your pain free intensity or fatigue (whichever comes first). It is normal to feel your muscles vibrate and shake during the hold time. Hold up to 1 minute and then rest for 1 minute, repeating 2 times. Test yourself once a week to see if your endurance and strength is increasing. Research demonstrates that a normal neck will be able to hold for: Females 89 seconds, Males 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Make sure not to push through pain.
- Dynamic Resisted Tubing Exercises: Rotation
Assume an upright posture, with your shoulder blades tucked down and in. Start with your neck at a 45 degree angle away from the tubing, then keep your chin tucked in, rotate to the opposite side to a 45 degree angle towards the tubing.
Start off with 3 sets of 10 repetitions, then progress to 3 sets of 30 repetitions over the next 3 to 4 weeks. As you feel better with the movement, you can increase the range of motion to full rotation into the resistance or the side that the tubing is on. Remember not to get into a chin poking posture, as this will put extra strain on your upper neck soft tissues.
- Dynamic Resisted Tubing Exercises: Flexion
Assume an upright posture with your shoulder blades tucked down and in. Tuck your chin, and slowly lower your chin to your chest within your pain free range of motion. Start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions increasing to 30 repetitions over the next 3 to 4 weeks, as the muscles get use to the exercise.