Exercises for neck problems

These exercises can help to get you moving normally, and safely, if you've a muscle or joint problem affecting your neck.

How many and how often

Start by doing 5 repetitions of each exercise, 3 times a day. Add an extra 1 or 2 repetitions every few days as long as you feel comfortable.

When to stop

Stop these exercises if they make your symptoms worse, or cause new pain.

If your symptoms don't improve after 2 weeks, phone the Musculoskeletal (MSK) Helpline (only available in some health board regions).

If this service isn't available in your area, speak to your GP to find out if you can refer yourself to a local MSK service.

Head turn (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeQW4bjQbDM)

You can do this exercise while sitting or lying on you back.

With your head facing forward:

  1. Slowly turn your head to one side as far as is comfortable – you should feel a stretch on the opposite side of your neck
  2. Hold for 2 seconds then return to where you started
  3. Repeat on the other side

Turning and holding your head on each side is one repetition.

Head tilt (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US1AaikziV8)

You can also do this exercise while sitting or lying on you back.

With your head facing forward:

  1. Slowly tilt your head towards one shoulder as far as is comfortable – you should feel a stretch on the opposite side of your neck
  2. Hold for 2 seconds then return to where you started
  3. Repeat on the other side

Tilting and holding your head on each side is one repetition.