Neck Strain or Sprain: Rehab Exercises

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Your Care Instructions

Here are some examples of typical rehabilitation exercises for your condition. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physiotherapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Neck rotation

Picture of neck rotation exercise
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slide 1 of 7, Neck rotation,
  1. Sit in a firm chair, or stand up straight.
  2. Keeping your chin level, turn your head to the right, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Turn your head to the left and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times to each side.

Neck stretches

Picture of neck stretches
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slide 2 of 7, Neck stretches,
  1. Look straight ahead, and tip your right ear to your right shoulder. Do not let your left shoulder rise up as you tip your head to the right.
  2. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Tilt your head to the left. Do not let your right shoulder rise up as you tip your head to the left.
  4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times to each side.

Forward neck flexion

Photo of forward neck flexion exercise
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slide 3 of 7, Forward neck flexion,
  1. Sit in a firm chair, or stand up straight.
  2. Bend your head forward.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Lateral (side) bend strengthening

Picture of lateral bend strengthening exercise
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slide 4 of 7, Lateral (side) bend strengthening,
  1. With your right hand, place your first two fingers on your right temple.
  2. Start to bend your head to the side while using gentle pressure from your fingers to keep your head from bending.
  3. Hold for about 6 seconds.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. Switch hands and repeat the same exercise on your left side.

Forward bend strengthening

Picture of forward bend strengthening exercise
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slide 5 of 7, Forward bend strengthening,
  1. Place your first two fingers of either hand on your forehead.
  2. Start to bend your head forward while using gentle pressure from your fingers to keep your head from bending.
  3. Hold for about 6 seconds.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Neutral position strengthening

Photo of neutral position strengthening exercise
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slide 6 of 7, Neutral position strengthening,
  1. Using one hand, place your fingertips on the back of your head at the top of your neck.
  2. Start to bend your head backward while using gentle pressure from your fingers to keep your head from bending.
  3. Hold for about 6 seconds.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Chin tuck

Photo of chin tuck exercise
slide 7 of 7
slide 7 of 7, Chin tuck,
  1. Lie on the floor with a rolled-up towel under your neck. Your head should be touching the floor.
  2. Slowly bring your chin toward your chest.
  3. Hold for a count of 6, and then relax for up to 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: March 21, 2017