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Cervical Neck Strain Exercises

What is it?

A cervical neck strain is when the neck is turned too quickly or forced to bend or turn further than is normal. This may cause stress and stretching of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or other neck tissue. Ask your caregiver for more information about other ways to treat your injury.

Do's and Don'ts:

Caregivers may tell you to remain pain-free as you exercise. If your injury does not improve, call your caregiver.


  • Neck Glides:
    Picture of neck glide exercise
    Keeping your chin parallel to the ground. Slide your head backwards and hold for 3 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times.
  • Shrugs:
    Picture of shrug exercise
    Stand with your arms by your side. Lift your shoulders up to your ears and hold for 1 second. Then pull your shoulders back pinching your shoulder blades together. Hold for 1 second. Relax your shoulders and repeat 20 times.
  • Side Bends:
    Picture of side neck bends
    Pull your head (using your hand) towards your shoulder until your feel your neck muscles stretch. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat on the other side and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times on each side.
  • Forward Flexion:
    Picture of forward neck flexion exercise
    Keeping your back straight, pull your head down gently (using both hands) and hold for 10 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat 5 times.
  • Head Rotations: Sitting or standing, turn your head to the right as far as possible without pain and hold for 1 second. Turn your head to the left as far as possible. Hold for 1 second. Repeat 20 times both right and left.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.