10 Best Neck Exercises for Neck Pain Relief – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody it’s Doctor Jo and Bear, and today we’re going to show you the 10 best neck strengthening exercises. So
let’s get started. So these 10 best neck strengthening exercises are my favorites. They’re the ones that I found
worked best for me, and they work best for my patients. So there’s no scientific
research that goes behind it, it’s just the ones that I have found work best for
me along the way. So the first one is going to be a chin tuck. Chin tuck
exercises are my favorites, they’re really really important to help kind of
reset your posture, and they’re super easy to do. So if you’re working on a
computer all day, you can take a few minutes out of every hour and just do a
couple chin tucks, and it really helps reset those muscles and get you back
into a good posture. So let’s take a look. For chin tucks in sitting, you’re going
to actually move your chin back, it’s not tucking it forward, so place your finger
on your chin and leave your finger in one spot, and then tuck it in and hold it. Number two, shoulder squeezes. Shoulder
squeezes are really important for the neck muscles as well as the upper back
because when we squeeze those muscles back, it works the upper trap, it works
those rhomboids, and all those muscles that help support the neck, so we want to
keep those strong. So let’s take a look at that. For shoulder squeezes, you’re
going to keep your elbows by your side and imagine that somebody has their hand
on your spine, and you’re trying to squeeze it. Number 3, cervical isometric extension. So what isometric exercises are is basically you’re activating the muscle,
but you’re not moving it, so you’re pushing into something, but you’re not
pushing through something, so you’re activating those muscles and a lot of
times the isometric exercises are great because maybe you’re not supposed to do
that movement yet, like you’ve had a surgery or something. Maybe it’s too
painful to do that movement yet, so the extension exercise that we’re about to
do for isometrics is you’re pushing into something, but you’re not moving it,
you’re just activating those muscles. So let’s take a look. For isometric cervical
extension, the motion you’re going to be doing is looking up at the ceiling, but
you’re going to place your hand behind your head and push into your hand. Number four is cervical isometric
flexion. So same thing, you’re activating those muscles isometrically, but you’re
not moving them, and this is really really important, it’s a great way to
start strengthening the muscles if they’re not quite ready to do the full
movements yet and if you have a lot of pain especially some neck spasms and
things like that, this is gonna be great to help relax those muscles. So let’s
take a look. For isometric cervical flexion, the motion you’re going to be
doing is this, but you’re going to place your hand on your forehead and push into
your hand. Number five is cervical isometric
rotation. So again same thing, you’re activating those muscles into that
rotational movement, but you’re not actually moving them, so you’re starting
that strengthening, but you’re not getting that big full movement that
might be painful or it might be something that you’re not supposed to do
yet. So let’s take a look at that one. For isometric cervical rotation, the motion
you’re going to be doing with your head is this motion, but you’re going to use
your hand to stop your head from moving, and just push into it and relax. Number six is cervical isometrics side
bending. So again if you’re not quite able to move that muscle without a lot
of pain yet, if you’re not supposed to or if you have a really strong spasm in
that neck, these isometric strengthening
exercises are a great way to get those muscles reset to start strengthening
them, but not overworking them too early. So let’s take a look at that one. For
isometric cervical side bend, the motion you’re going to be doing is this, but
you’re going to place your hand on your head and push into your hand. Number seven is side bending with a
resistive band. So now you’re adding the movement into the strengthening exercise,
you’re getting a resistive band. I love resistive bands, weights are great,
but I find that resistive bands work better because you’re getting resistance
going to the motion and coming back, that eccentric motion versus the
concentric when you’re going, and both of those are important, but sometimes the
eccentric is more important because you’re having to control that muscle back, so
don’t forget that part and the resistive bands are a great way to do that. So
let’s watch the side bending one. For neck strengthening side bending, take a
resistive band and wrap it around the top of your head anchoring it on one
side. Keep your shoulder down and bend your head towards your shoulder. Number eight is the resistive band with
cervical rotation. So again using the resistive bands, now getting that
strengthening, I’d start off with the lightest resistive band. If you’re using
a thera-band product, the yellow band is the lightest and then it goes red, green,
blue, and so on from there, but if you’re not using that brand, make sure you know
that you’re starting off with the lightest one because cervical or neck
muscles tend to be really small and they get tired fast, so you don’t want to
overdo it. So let’s check this one out. For neck rotation strengthening, take a
band, put it behind your head, and then wrap it around the front just above your
eyes. Pull out to the side and then rotate your head to one side. Number nine is going back to a chin tuck,
but using the resistive band now, and so this is a great way to again get those
chin tucks, but now you’re putting the resistive band around your head.
So you’re getting some strengthening as well as getting yourself back into the
posture, so I really like this one as well, so let’s check it out. For chin
tucks with a resistive band, place the band behind your head and pull it in
front of you, then tuck your chin in pushing your head back into the band. Number 10 is going to be shoulder shrugs,
and you can do shoulder shrugs just normally, and then if you’re doing really
well and you want to get some more strengthening, you can add weights by
just putting him in your hands, and then shrugging as well, so it’s a great way to
get some strengthening exercises. You can stand on a resistive band and then do
the shrugs as well or just put some weights in your hand. Again I’d start off
with very light weights with these because you don’t want to over work
those muscles too soon or you’re going to be really really soar. So let’s check
that one out. For shoulder shrugs with a weight, place a weight in each hand and
then shrug your shoulders. So there you have it, those are your 10
best neck strengthening exercises. If you have any questions, leave in the comments
section, if you’d like to help support my channel make sure and click up here, and
don’t forget to subscribe to my channel by clicking down here. And remember, be
safe (take care of those neck muscles), have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

Joseph Wolf


  1. Hey Dr. Jo, I would love a real time post mountain biking stretching video.

  2. Please Make a video on how to stretch abdominal muscles and hips muscles and how to open up those ribs

  3. I really like those exercises where you push against your hand. I've been doing neck stretches without resistance and my neck didn't seem to get any better, in fact it often seemed worse. Great video, thanks.

  4. Hi! For how long / how many reps would you do each exercise, and how often would you do them for the best results? I'd mainly like to relieve tension headaches and shoulder pain from desk work.

  5. Excellent! 2 years ago I was about to trip over a rock. So I wouldn't fall I over-extended my left arm; somehow injuring the left side of my neck! Been so painful! Thank you so much for these stretches. I can't afford to live in the PT or chiropractic offices. so I am so very thankful!
    Will keep doing them; especially like the resistance band ones! Thank you!

  6. Hi, thanks for your videos.Do you have special exercise for Cervicogenic dizziness?thanks

  7. is low weight lifting for neck exercises recommended for cervical spondylosis doctor?

  8. Here is 10 exercise. can I follow 10 exercise serially.or only 1 exercise can followed plz advice mam,,,,,

  9. That was an instant relief..but have to repeat them until you are totally freed…thank you so much..

  10. Thank you … my neck is always hung low all day I text alot and also the pillows I think cause me neck pain twisting my neck to the right or leaning my head back hurts

  11. Hey Jo! Love your videos. Question.

    Should I do neck stretches THEN isometric neck exercises, or vice versa? Also, should I wait a certain amount of time in between those two different things?

    Thank you!

  12. *What? exercises in the gym are too much than exactly necessary?
    People have mixed reviews on say 'sit ups' ?

  13. my baseball hats and towels don't work good as resistance bands. So I am getting the Thera-band package of resistance bands.. Dr. JO Rules!

  14. Hi Jo. You helped in the past by answering a question. I'm grateful and I have another one (another problem) : I have numbness in my left pinky and the other fingers that wakes me up during the night and I know it's cubital tunnel syndrome. I also know that it's related to my neck (from past physiotherapist appointments). I don't remember the exercises the physio had given me. What do you suggest?

  15. Purchase a printable worksheet featuring the neck exercises in this video here: https://www.askdoctorjo.com/purchase-neck-exercises-worksheet
    ⭐⭐ Leaving a Question or Comment? ⭐⭐
    If you want me to reply, make sure you hit the 🔴 SUBSCRIBE 🔴 button above first (if you haven’t already) because I always respond to my subscribers!

  16. Thank you so much, I've had excruciating and uncontrollable neck pain for several months with no relief from exercises, stretching, or pain medications which I'm not a fan of in the first place. After doing isometric extensions, I nearly cried tears of joy, finally on my way in the right direction. Thank you again!

  17. yes very good exercise …feeling good …thanks a lot..will continue doing this.

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