Exercises for Neck Pain

Your physical therapist will perform an evaluation to determine both the source and the cause of your symptoms. Below, is a list of exercises that might assist you in relieving your neck pain while you await your appointment. If any exercise causes you more pain, discontinue the exercise and ask your physical therapist for assistance.

Breakdown of Exercises for Neck Pain

1. Towel SNAGs for Rotation/Side Bend/Extension

Flip a towel behind your neck so the edge of the towel is pressing near your painful area.  If looking are limiting rotating to the left use your right hand to grab the towel on the left side of your body and use your left hand to pull across at your chin into rotation.  The right hand acts as a stabilizer and maintains pressure as the left hands pulls chin into rotation. (confused already!? We don’t want you choking yourself so please check out the video below that further explains the exercise).  Perform 3 set of 10 repetitions.

2. Wall Angels

For this exercise, you will have 5 points of body contact with the wall.  Position yourself with your butt, mid-back, head, elbows, and hands against the wall. While maintaining these 5 points of contact slide your hands up the wall.  Do not let your head leave the wall! If you have any pain in your low back, try moving your feet further away from the wall to take stress off your back. This exercise is GREAT for POSTURE!  Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions or every 10 reps every 1-2 hours.

3. Forward Mini Lunges with Overhead/Rotational Reaching

Grab a broom stick or foam roll.  Starting with feet together and bar at waist take a step or mini lunge forward and reach up overhead with the bar. Alternate to stepping with the other foot and reach overhead.  After performing one set of reach overhead transition to stepping forward and rotating with the bar. As you rotate, keep eyes and head looking forward. Perform 2 sets of 5 repetitions on each leg (both reaching overhead and rotating).

4. Cat/Cow Spine Segmentation

Begin by getting on your hands and knees.  Start rounding at your low back and slowing move up your spine toward your neck.  Then work back down your spine extending by pushing chest and belly button down toward the ground.  The goal for this exercise is to work each segment/joint in your spine. So move from low back to neck and neck back to low back.  Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions. Check out our video link for more cues on how to properly perform this exercise to maximize results.

5. Foam Roller on Wall

Start by placing the foam roller on the wall at about face level. Put your wrist/forearms on foam roller and start gently rolling foam roller up the wall.  At the top of the motion, try leaning in towards the wall bringing your chest close to the wall. Hold for about 3 seconds at the top. Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

6. Side Lying Openers & Circles

Start in side lying position with a pillow under your head.  Slightly bend knees bringing them toward your chest. Straighten both of your arms out at shoulder height against the ground.  Take the top arm and rotate away from the other arm (like a book opening up!). Keep your hips stacked and do not allow them to open with your arm as you rotate.  After performing 10 repetitions of “openers” now do circles overhead. In the same starting position do a big circle overhead with top hand and then return to starting position,  the same way you came. Perform 10 repetitions of “circles” and then roll on the other side and do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each side.

Exercises for Neck Pain Video

We know it helps for many people to have a visual, so here is a video displaying some effective exercises to help with neck pain. 


Find Physical Therapy for Neck Pain

By incorporating these exercises into your daily regimen, you will start to develop the muscles that have been causing your pain. Be sure to reach out to our team here at Impact Physical Therapy and schedule your evaluation today!

About Dr. Eric Hefferon

Dr. Eric Hefferon received his advanced doctorate degree in physical therapy from the innovative A.T. Still University. He has been practicing in the west valley for 6 years and has made strong ties to local gyms and medical practitioners. Dr. Hefferon started Impact Physical Therapy due to his passion for an individualized healthcare approach. He knew by creating a clinic that was out of network he could help give patients the results they deserve. His treatment style attracts patients from all over the valley and even out of state. People will travel to seek Dr. Hefferon’s solutions!

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