Top 15 Exercises For A Strong And Pain Free Neck

Image : © Mqdee

Looking for ways to release that tension from your neck? You have come to the right place. The neck plays a number of significant roles, and yet it is overlooked unless under immense pain or physical stress. Not only it contains numerous blood vessels that transfer blood to the brain, but it also homes the larynx, trachea and esophagus that enable the flow of food, air, and vocal abilities. As if that wasn’t enough, our neck also holds the upper part of the spinal cord that manages the motor skills in a person. Talk about stress.

Common Causes Of Neck Stress: 

So what causes this discomfort in one of the most important parts of our body? In our everyday life, the neck undergoes immense pressure due to:

  • Improper body posture
  • Poor physical ergonomics
  • Uncomfortable sleeping platforms
  • Sudden jarring movements

In most cases, these irresponsible habits end up giving us, what we most commonly call, a ‘stiff neck’. If you spend an awful lot of time working on the computer, or on an office desk, execute hard physical labour, or simply find yourself slouching every now and then, then make the following exercises a part of your daily routine.


Before you proceed to practice any of the methods mentioned below, you must remember that if at any point you feel an unbearable stress or pain in the neck or back, you should visit your health advisor immediately. As a general rule, try to avoid any sudden jerks or jarring motions that may result in causing a strain on the neck muscles.

Refrain from any and all physical movements where the load is distanced from the body. When you attempt to perform improper weight lifting of any kind, it adds stress on the neck and back, as these parts of our body try and compensate the lack of pull from the arm or legs. Of course, avoid any of these exercises for neck pain that disagree with your injuries or physical impairment.

Three things to remember:

  • You do not need to follow all exercises, just follow the ones that suit you best.
  • Stop exercising if it begins to pain and consult your doctor immediately.
  • Perform the exercises non-aggressively and in slow and steady motions. 

Top 15 Simple Yet Effective Neck Pain Exercises: 

Despite of the range of challenges to maintain a fit and strong neck, the good news is that there are an equal amount of convenient ways to avoid all this exertion. Below we have presented a range of easy to follow practices that will help you release the stress from the consistently working neck and keep it fit.

1. Rotations:

This is an easy and accessible routine that can be performed while sitting or standing. Simply turn your head to the right, as far as you possibly can without causing yourself any discomfort. Hold the position for a period of ten to thirty seconds, return to the center position (looking forward), and then repeat the same on the left. Go over the full routine till necessary.

2. Side Stretch:

Stand upright, and tilt your head to the left slowly, as if you are trying to touch your shoulder with your ear. Hold the position for a second and then return back to the normal position. Repeat the same exercise on the other side and follow the routine till necessary.

3. Resistance Exercise Routines:

This exercise comprises of opposing forces, as you place your left hand on your head right above the ear. While gently pushing your head to the right, resist the push of your hand by using your neck. Repeat the same procedure with the other side.

4. Head Lift (Flat):

Lay down with your back flat against the floor and keep your shoulder relaxed. Fold your legs without lifting up your feet from the floor. Then slowly raise your head and try to reach the chest with your chin. Release your head back to normal position gradually. Repeat this lift and release routine till you start feeling the stress leave from your neck. Another simple exercises for neck pain relief!

5. Head Lift (Sideways):

Lay down on the floor sideways and slowly start raising your head towards the ceiling. This will stretch the side muscles of your neck and release the stress and tension in the lower neck area. Repeat till it feels necessary and then switch to the other side to perform the same routine.

6. Shoulder Circles:

Stand in a relaxed posture and leisurely begin to rotate both your shoulders in a clockwise direction. After completing ten rotations, switch to counterclockwise direction and complete another set of ten rotations. Take a break of a few seconds in between sets, and repeat till necessary.

7. Neck Retraction/ Dorsal Glide:

Perform this routine while sitting or standing upright. Slide your head backwards without raising your straight line of sight (i.e. look ahead at all times). Take a deep breath while performing this action, then return back to normal position while exhaling. Repeat this glide routine six to eight times a day with each session lasting about five minutes. One of the best exercises to reduce neck pain.

8. Forward and Backward Neck Tilt:

Perform this exercise while sitting or standing up. Begin by slowly tilting your head down so your chin meets the chest. Maintain the position for around five seconds, and gradually return back to the normal position. Take a short pause and gently drop your head backwards as you look towards the ceiling for about five seconds. Return back to the default position slowly. Repeat this exercise five times a day for relaxing your neck, back, and shoulder muscles.

9. Flexion:

Slide your head backwards without raising your straight line of sight (i.e. look ahead at all times). Lock your hands at the back of your neck by intertwining your fingers together. Gently push your head forward so that your chin meets your chest. You will start to feel a stretch in the back muscles of the neck. Stop when it starts to feel uncomfortable. Return to neutral position and repeat five times.

10. Shoulder Blade Pull:

Make yourself comfortable on a stool or a chair without a backrest. Relax your shoulders and neck, then raise your arms and bend at a ninety degree angle. Move your elbows backwards and draw the shoulder blades together to gently squeeze the muscles between them. Reverse the process to return to the original position and repeat five times.

11. Rotating Neck (Four Positions):

This is a combination of four neck stretch positions. Begin with dropping your head forward to move your chin towards the chest. Now, without returning to the neutral position, tilt your head towards the left trying to touch your left shoulder with your left ear. Proceed with dropping the head back so you are looking up. End the routine with titling your head towards the right and touching your right shoulder with your right ear. Return to neutral position for a short break. Repeat the same process in the opposite direction, i.e. Right, Back, Left, and Front. This exercise helps in releasing stress from the neck, upper back and shoulders.

12. Hand Resistant Exercises:

Another best neck exercises for pain free neck! Place both your hands on your forehead. Start to move your head forward and oppose the force of your head using your hands. Maintain this opposing force posture for 5 seconds. Take a short break to relax and repeat 5 to 10 sets of this exercise 3 times a day.
You may also perform this same exercise by placing your hands at the back of your head and oppose the force of the head pushing backwards.

13. Shoulder Shrugs (Using weights):

One of the best exercises for neck pain using weights! Hold lightweight dumbbells of 2 to 5 pounds in each hand. Relax your arms while your palms are facing in. Raise your shoulders up to the ear level. Pause for a couple of seconds and release. Repeat 8 to 12 times for one set, with 3 sets per day.

14. Reverse Flies (Using weights):

Hold 2 to 5 pounds of lightweight dumbbells and bend forward so your chest is parallel to the floor (like taking a bow). Let your arms hang down straight with palms facing towards the legs. Then slightly bend your elbows and squeeze shoulder blades to raise your arms up to the sides. Pause for a second and release the posture. Repeat 8 to 12 times for one set, with 3 sets per day.

15. Upright Row (Using weights):

Here is another neck pain exercises using weights! Using lightweight dumbbells of 2 to 5 pounds each, stand upright with palms facing towards the thighs. Pull weights up till the collarbone by raising your elbows out towards to the sides. Hold the posture for a second, then return back to neutral position. Exercise 3 sets by repeating 8 to 12 times of this in each set.

Why suffer from a stiff neck, that deters your spirit to work or get about your usual chores? Instead, make it a habit to practice these exercises on a daily basis to keep aches and pains at bay. Preferably, getting up every hour to carry out any of the above stretches will help you deal with that unexpected pain or tension in your neck. Remember, your neck is constantly at work trying to keep your head balanced against all gravitational pull. Keep it strong and fit, and you will feel a remarkable difference in your physical performance on a regular basis.

The Bottom Line:

By following a selection of handy exercises mentioned above, you can be relieved from stress under any circumstances. Remember, your neck supports a 10 to 12 pounds of head weight, and slacking in maintaining its proper position will result in stress overload on the neck muscles and the soft tissues found in them.

If you found this helpful, drop us a note on how these exercises for neck pain helped you to tackle neck pain. Which ones helped you the most, and how you were able to adopt them in your daily routine. We want to hear it all!

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