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Neck strengthening exercises

Neck strengthening (exercises 9 to 11) should only be started later in your recovery. If you are unsure when to begin this, ask your treating health professional.

Exercise 9: Neck strengthening exercises (isometric, no movement exercise)

  • Sit in the correct postural position as described in exercise 4.
  • Make sure your chin is relaxed and slightly down.
  • Place your right hand on your right cheek.
  • Gently try to turn your head into your fingers to look over your right shoulder but allow no movement.
  • Hold the contraction for five seconds.
  • Use a 10 per cent to 20 per cent effort, no more!
  • Repeat with the left hand on the left cheek.
  • Do five repetitions of the holding exercise to each side.

Photographs of a woman completing the neck strengthening exercise

Neck strengthening exercises whilst in the safe four-point kneeling position

Firstly, adopt the four-point kneeling position.

Begin by ensuring your knees are directly under your hips, and your hands directly under your shoulders.

Your lower back should be in a neutral position; that is, with a natural arch.

Gently draw your belly button to your spine (10 per cent effort).

Push gently through your shoulder blades, so that your upper back is level.

Draw your shoulders gently away from your ears, or toward your hips.

Lift your head up so that it is level with your shoulders, but maintaining a gentle chin tucked or nod position.

Once you can hold the safe four-point kneeling position, proceed with the neck movement exercises as described below.

Exercise 10: Neck bending and extension in the four-point kneeling position

  • Adopt the safe four-point kneeling position. (See photo a, below.)
  • Slowly look up toward the ceiling as far as you can go. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. (See photo b, below.)
  • Follow this by slowly bending your neck, leading the movement with a chin tuck or nodding action. (See photo c, below.)
  • Continue the neck bending movement as far as possible, aim for your chin to touch your chest.
  • Throughout this movement you should hold the neutral lower back and shoulder blade posture described above.
  • Perform 5 to 10 repetitions.

Photographs of a woman completing the neck bending and extension exercises in the four-point kneeling position

Exercise 11: Neck rotation in the four-point kneeling position

  • Adopt the safe four-point kneeling position.
  • Slowly rotate your head (turn your neck to one side).
  • It is important to maintain the gentle chin tuck or ‘nod’ position throughout the movement.
  • Also, make sure your head stays level with your body, and does not drop down.
  • If you do this exercise correctly, you should be looking over your shoulder at the end of the movement.
  • It helps to do this exercise positioning yourself side-on to a mirror so that you can check your head position.
  • Repeat to the other side.
  • Perform 5 to 10 repetitions.