Our Top 3 Exercises To Reduce Your Risk For Neck Pain

The neck has an incredibly important job to do. It supports the head and allows us to move it in a wide range of directions so that we can better navigate the world around us. But because of how frequently it’s used and its position in the body, as we’ve already seen, the neck is also a very common location for pain. And as anyone that’s been there before can attest to, sometimes all it takes is one bad night’s sleep to ruin your day.

For each person, there are a variety of factors that may contribute to the development of neck pain. What’s most important to understand is that some of these factors are out of your control, while others can be addressed to reduce your chances of experiencing neck pain.

For example, age–related changes to the structures of the upper spine are inevitable in all individuals, and these changes may be a cause of neck pain for some. While nothing can be done to slow down or stop the aging process, there are several steps you can take right now to help prevent neck pain from developing. One of the most impactful things you can do is to keep your upper spine strong and flexible through regular physical activity and targeted exercises for the muscles of the neck. Therefore, to help you in the process, here are our top 3 exercises for reducing your risk for neck pain:

Our top 3 neck pain prevention exercises

To see videos of each exercise, go to and enter prescription code RJWH77HK1

  1. Upper cervical flexion in supine

    • Lie on your back with your head supported on a rolled towel or ball

    • Slowly bring your chin toward chest

    • Return to the starting position

    • Repeat for one set of 5 repetitions, twice per day

  2. Active cervical rotation

    • Lie on your back on a flat surface

    • Slowly rotate your head to one side until a comfortable stretch is felt

    • Hold for 20 seconds

    • Slowly rotate your head to the opposite side until a comfortable stretch is felt

    • Repeat for one set of 5 repetitions, twice per day

  3. Active cervical side bending

    • Lie on your back on a flat surface

    • Slowly bring your ear toward your shoulder; if necessary, use your hand to gently pull your ear toward your shoulder Hold for 20 seconds

    • Return to the midline

    • Repeat for one set of 5 repetitions, twice per day

  4. Regularly performing these exercises will bolster the strength of neck muscles and increase the flexibility of supporting joints, which will lower your chances for developing neck pain in the process. However, even when preventive measures such as these are taken, pain may still develop due to the multifactorial nature of neck pain. When this occurs, physical therapy is your best option available, and in our next two posts, we summarize some research that shows why.

August 9, 2022
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