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Strengthening exercises for neck pain

Are you getting a sore neck from poor posture?

Pain in the neck could develop from a number of reasons, including strenuous activity and increased stress levels. Neck pain is most common in people who work desk jobs however, the good news is, there is a lot you can do to improve your neck and prevent pain with some simple neck strengthening exercises.


Strengthening of postural muscles is a great way to relieve and prevent recurring neck pain.

Here are 5 of the best strengthening exercises for preventing neck pain from poor posture.

1. Head retraction

Also known as Chin Tucks, this exercise works small muscles in the front of your neck. It also realigns your cervical spine, taking tension off sore muscles in the back and sides of your neck. These muscles are often a cause of pain (levator scapulae, scalenes and upper trapezius). You should aim to perform this movement by holding for 5 seconds and returning to the starting position. Repeat these strengthening exercises approximately 10 times or until you feel your muscles warm or tire.

This exercise can be progressed with the use of theraband for resistance or in a plank position using gravity.

2. Shoulder shrugs

This movement works the muscles along the side of your neck and top of your shoulder (upper trapezius muscle). It helps to relieve tension in this often tense muscle and resets your shoulder position. You should aim to perform this movement by holding for 5 seconds and returning to the resting position slowly. Repeat this approximately 10 times or until you feel your muscles warm or tire.

These strengthening exercises can be progressed with the use of a theraband or small hand weights.

3. Shoulder blade retraction

This movement works the muscles between your shoulder blades (rhomboids). You will also get a gentle extension stretch in your upper back and chest. Perform this movement by holding for 5 seconds and returning to the resting position slowly. Repeat this approximately 10 times or until you feel your muscles warm or tire.

4. Shoulder blade protraction

This movement strengthens the muscle under your shoulder blades (serratus anterior) and stretches muscles between your shoulder blades (rhomboids and trapezius muscle).

5. Theraband rows

Rows help to strengthen your shoulder muscles whilst building postural endurance in your upper back and neck. Make sure you start in an upright position and that your band is secure.

We hope you have found these exercises helpful and that your neck thanks you for it. After performing these exercises, you can do some gentle stretches for the neck and shoulders to relieve tightness further. Click here for access to our stretching guide.

If you are in need of further treatment, assessment or want to find out more about these exercises, we encourage you to get in touch for a face to face or online appointment with one of our knowledgeable physiotherapists.

Happy exercising!

Chee Yan Ting

Physiotherapist

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