Top 5 Exercises to Strengthen your Neck

It goes without saying that the neck is an important part of the body, but not many people are aware of the importance of strengthening their neck. A strong neck can provide many benefits for your overall health, from reducing the risk of injury to improving posture.

We see a lot people with neck pain seeing us at Surrey Physio. It’s a very common presentation. We see it, we help those patients, and we show them how to get a stronger neck. We also provide therapy to help reduce neck pain. There's been some recent research that suggests concepts like "Text Neck" are not statistically relevant. While we follow research, we have ourselves found that many more people seem to be presenting for treatment to their neck post-Covid and we have a feeling that increased use of phones, tablets, TVs and computers are a big part of that.

Neck posture is important because it is essential for good overall spinal alignment and keeps your head in the centre of gravity. Poor neck posture can cause pain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and even neck injuries. Imagine holding a bucket of water in front of you. If you hold it out away from your body, its harder on your back and arm muscles, whereas closer to the body the bucket seems much lighter. This is the same with the weight of the head. As the head leans forward, so the load on the neck muscles increases compared to being in the centre of gravity.

Many people experience neck pain while working from home due to poor posture and lack of proper ergonomic setup. Sitting in the same spot for long periods of time can cause muscle stiffness. Additionally, those who use laptops or computers that are not properly adjusted for their height can also experience neck strain. To reduce the risk of neck pain, it is important to set up a work area that is comfortable and ergonomic. This includes having a desk and chair that are the right height, and adjusting the monitor so that it is at eye level. Additionally, taking frequent breaks to stretch and move can help alleviate neck pain.

Here are Our Top 5 Exercises for Strengthening Your Neck.

Isometric Neck Strengthening: Place your palm on your forehead, and resist flexion of your neck while keeping your head still. Hold, and then relax. You should feel the muscles at the front and side of your neck contracting. Hold each contraction for 5-10 seconds, and repeat three times.

Neck Extension Prone: Let your neck hang forwards and down over the end of the bench. You will feel a gentle stretch at the top back of the neck. Hold the stretch, and relax. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, and repeat three times.

Neck Side-Flexor Strengthening: Lying on your side, bend your neck by taking your ear towards your shoulder. You will feel the muscles on the side of your neck contracting. Let your neck relax back the pillow. Repeat the required number of times, and then turn over and perform on the opposite side. Repeat ten repetitions each side, three times in total.

Wall Lean Neck Strengthening: Stand approximately 1 foot from a wall, place a towel behind your head, and lean against the towel. Make sure your body has good straight alignment, and keep your chin up. If you find this easy, stand a little further from the wall. You should feel a gentle muscle contraction at the back of your neck (you may not feel it at first, but after 20-30 seconds you will feel the muscle contraction). Hold this position for 1 minute, three times.

Neck Retraction with Band: Place a band around your head with each end of the band wrapped around your wrists. With your chin tucked, draw your head upwards towards the ceiling. Return your head to the start position. Repeat 10-15 repetitions, three times.

By following these tips, you can strengthen your neck and improve your overall health. A strong neck can reduce the risk of injury, improve posture, and increase your overall well-being.

(Physios and Therapists: these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises Patients: if you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).