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Whiplash neck exercises and videos

This guide lists exercises that people with whiplash can do to help in their recovery. See the Injury Advice Center for more information on whiplash recovery.

When you are performing the exercises, stop and contact your doctor or therapist if you notice:

  • dizziness, light headedness, blurred vision, fainting or disorientation
  • sudden pain shooting down your arm, or numbness or weakness in your arm or hand
  • unusually severe neck pain, and/or
  • that exercises consistently produce a headache, which persists.

2. Exercises while lying down

Lie down with a soft pillow under your neck, and with your knees bent up.

Exercise 1: The chin nod exercise

  • Gently and slowly nod your head forward as if to say ‘yes’.
  • Feel the muscles at the front of your neck.
  • Stop the nodding action just before you feel the front muscles hardening.
  • Hold the nod position for five seconds and then relax.
  • Gently move your head back to the normal start position.
  • Repeat up to 10 times.

Photograph of a woman lying down and nodding

Exercise 2: Head rotation

  • Gently turn your head from one side to the other.
  • Look where you are going.
  • Progressively aim to turn your head far enough so your chin is in line with your shoulder and you can see the wall in line with your shoulder.
  • Repeat 10 times to each side.

Photographs of a woman lying down, turning her head from side to side

Exercise 3: Shoulder blade exercise

  • This exercise will relax and ease any tension in the muscles on top of your shoulders and it will give you pain relief.
  • Lie on your right side with your arm resting up on two pillows. (See photo a, below.)
  • Roll your left shoulder blade back and across your ribs towards the centre of your back. (See photo b, below.)
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat five times.
  • Repeat lying on the left side for the right shoulder blade.

Photographs of a woman lying on her side and rolling her shoulder blade back and across her ribs towards the centre of her back