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the neck pain exercises

Posted Sep 05 2009 7:26am

Mark Perren-Jones from Isla Verde Spa Boquete


Okay here   we go. You should already know by now that to be pain free it is imperative that you sit, stand and do your daily activities with proper posture. That is, not pushing your chin/head forward. In other words sitting up straight and standing tall whenever you are standing. Also, during your daily activities whether it be reaching above you to grab something from the cupboard, drinking from a glass or even just reading a paper make sure  that your head is slightly retracted so that your chin does not jut out. So to become and remain pain free, the first and most important step is to check your posture is excellent at all times. This means that your ear is above your shoulder from a side on view, and not forward of it. Also, when you are sitting you must be sitting erect instead of slouching. It is impossible to put your head into a good postural position if your lower back is not in good postural position. Therefore, make sure you are sitting tall which makes your muscles of your back work rather than slouching which rests on the ligaments and pushes the discs backwards. You may like to use a rolled up towel, a cushion, or even buy a lumbar roll to help you maintain good  lower back posture  when you sit. Place it just above your beltline where the small of the back is. This will help keep the natural inward (lordotic) curve for your lower back.

Now that your lower back is in good position, make sure that your head is in good position. You may like to try the wall test (see wall test in exercises) to get an understanding of what is proper posture for standing.

Now that you have helped your neck (and lower back) with good posture you also want to be doing these  neck exercises  during the day to help counteract the amount of forward bending the head does throughout the day:

The double chin-the good, the bad and the ugly


The good…


  • Draw your head backwards without your chin lifting up. Keep your chin tucked in and down you may need to look into a mirror a first to do this. Draw it back as far as you can comfortably. You want to repeat this 12 times. Draw it back as far as you can, hold for a second or two and release.
  • If you have to look down a lot, for example a person who is sewing or working on a laptop then do this every hour or so, if not do it 5-6 times per day. But remember, if you do have to look down to do your tasks, keep your chin comfortably tucked in rather than jutted out straining your ligaments.
  • Remember to breathe, relax and enjoy


…the bad and the ugly


  • Lifting your chin up
  • Forgetting to breathe, relax and enjoy

Tennis in the sky-the good, the bad and the ugly


The good…


  • Now that you have done the double chin, you need to follow up with “tennis in the sky”. Please note that if your pain is still too severe, just stick with the double chin until your can progress to this one.
  • Start by doing the double chin and then look toward the sky without letting the chin jut forwards. Look up as far as possible and then look to the left and right as if you were watching a tennis match. Don’t do it too slowly nor too quickly, it should be about the pace of watching a tennis match in a baseline rally and only allow the head to move a little way each side (you nose moves about an inch to the left and right).
  • As you do this, try to extend your head further and further back as far as you can you are trying to look further and further behind you on the ceiling.
  • Look upwards and to the sides 6 times and then return your head to the starting position.
  • Repeat this 12 times
  • Remember to breathe , relax and enjoy

…the bad and the ugly


  • Allowing your head to jut forward when you extend. This is a common mistake, you must retract your head backwards first (creating the double chin) and then look upwards.
  • Not extending you head back as far as possible( as pain permits)
  • Forgetting to breathe, relax and enjoy

No more Neck pain acupressure point


Heres another little gem to help your  neck pain. It’s an acupuncture point that you can press to help your pain as well. Use your finger or thumb to use firm pressure on the area between the top of your knuckles on your first and second fingers. Rub and press firmly whilst rotating your head from side to side up to the point of pain or restriction. Rotate your head to the left and right 10 times whilst firmly pressing and rubbing into the point on your hand. If your pain is more one-sided, for example you have pain more on the left hand side rather than centrally on the spine; just rotate your head to the left hand side and not the right. To make that clear, if your pain is not in the centre but more on one side of your neck/back rotate your head TOWARDS the painful side. Then do the same thing pressing on the other hand. Do this several times a day-it can have miraculous results!

In summary:


  1. correct your posture for everything that you do
  2. do the double chin and tennis in the sky several times a day, more if you look down a lot for your work
  3. stimulate the acupoint on your hand


When you are out of pain, continue to do numbers 1 and 2 and also during the day do the lunge stretch, the pectoral stretch and the great neck/back combo stretch (see exercises  on how to do these)

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