neck exercises for neck pain

Top 5 Best Neck Exercises for Neck Pain Relief


If you find yourself having neck pain consistently, there are a few ways to approach this situation, such as neck exercises to relieve the neck pain. First, if you haven’t already, I suggest speaking to a doctor to see what could be going on, so at least you’ll have a better insight on your situation. Next, I recommend starting with some light stretches, luckily, I wrote an article on some great stretches for neck pain.

Top 5 Best Neck Stretches for Neck Pain Relief

The stretches in that article are light stretches that will help reduce the pain and stress you’re feeling in your neck. I recommend doing them first because they are light and usually help. After doing those stretches, I recommend starting the neck exercises in this article. The exercises I will talk about in this article will be light but help you strengthen your neck and help you prevent further injury or pain in the future.

The greatest way to prevent neck pain and neck injury isn’t medications or pain relievers. The best way is to get active in a healthy, safe way. You can prevent injury and promote overall health in your body by becoming active, even if its just a little active each day. This way you can build strong, flexible muscles and joints, especially in your neck, to prevent strain or injury. Parts of the body, such as the neck and even the back enjoy movement and active lifestyles.

Staying at a computer screen or on your phone in a bad posture for too long and keeping your body in a bad static position for a long period of time will increase the risk of back or neck stain. Once you stain these body parts, the pain comes soon after. The best way to prevent this is by moving, staying active and stepping away from the computer for a bit of time each day to stretch and be more active by doing these neck exercises. This will greatly reduce the pain you feel in your body, especially in your neck.

Now that I’ve gotten that information out of the way, lets get started with the neck exercises so we can help improve your neck, then relieve and prevent further pain.


Top 5 Best Neck Exercises for Neck Pain Relief

neck pain exercises

Now that I’ve gotten that information out of the way, lets get started with the neck exercises so we can help improve your neck, then relieve and prevent further pain.

1. Resistance Presses

neck pain exercise normal resistance press
Credit to Saint Luke’s 

This is a simple and effective exercise you can do anywhere if you have a few minutes of free time. Sit or stand straight and keep good posture. Keep your head and neck neutral. Look straight ahead. Now take either of your hands and place the palm of your hand on the center of your forehead. Push your head back with your hand while resisting the push with your neck strength, you will feel your neck muscles being worked. Apply this same pressure for 5 seconds and stop. Do this for six to eight reps.

After that, now we will move to the second variation of this exercise.

Take any of your hands and place the palm of your hand on the lower center of the back of your head. Make sure your posture is good and you’re sitting straight. Also make sure your head is in a neutral position and you’re looking straight ahead. Now, push your hand into your head to push your head forward, but try to use your neck strength to resist the push, you should feel your neck being worked by these neck exercises. Apply this same pressure for 5 seconds and stop. Do this neck exercise for six to eight reps.

If you feel any pain in your neck at pain point when doing these neck exercises, please stop and consult with a doctor right away.

2. Towel Pull

neck exercise towel pull

Now we’re going to build off a bit from the last neck exercise. For this neck exercise, we will need a towel. Place a rolled towel around your neck and grip each side with one hand. Apply a bit of pressure onto the towel by pulling on it with your hands, now look up while keeping that pressure. Don’t hold this position, but instead, slowly look back down. This is one rep, now do it again. Look up slowly, then bring your head back down. Do this neck exercise for six to eight reps.

The towel and your pull will be the resistance and your neck should be trying to fight this resistance to look up. This will also help build strength in your neck and help prevent future pain or injury in your neck.

I personally feel, each time I do this exercise, the pain in my neck quickly is reduced. Get the form right, apply enough resistance to where you don’t feel any pain but you’re still working your neck and you will feel your neck being worked out. Do this neck exercise at least 3 times a week, along with these other neck exercises to see and feel better results and reduce neck pain.

Once again, if you feel pain in your neck, stop this neck exercise and consult with your doctor right away.

3. Shoulder Shrugs

neck exercise shrug

Sit or stand straight while maintaining good posture and keep a neutral head position. Look forward and keep your shoulders straight too. Slowly raise both of your shoulders up as far as they can go and hold it for 5 seconds. Then slowly bring them back down. Do this for 10 to 15 repetitions. This is a great exercise you can do almost anywhere. This will strengthen the muscles in your shoulders and around your neck. With these muscles built, they will help protect your neck and help with reducing pain or even getting rid of the pain too.

Try to do this exercise a few times a day for a least 3 times a week. If you are working at a computer or are on your phone for long periods of time, take a break and do these exercises every half hour if possible. This will help with your posture problems and help remind you to keep good posture too. Also building these muscles will help keep you naturally in a good position. When you’re in a good position you’ll gain many benefits, including reduced pain in your neck due to bad posture.

Again, if you feel severe pain in your neck, stop and see your doctor.

4. Side Resistance Presses

side press neck pain exercise
Credit to Saint Luke’s

Similar to the normal resistance presses you learned earlier, these are basically the same concept, except, this will work the sides of the neck. We want to strengthen the entire neck and this will help us do it. Having an overall powerful neck will help reduce pain or get rid the pain completely. It will also help prevent future pain and injuries.

Sit or stand straight and maintain good posture. Keep a neutral head and neck position while looking forward. Place the palm of your right hand on the right side of your head. Push your head to the left while trying to resist the push using your neck strength. Hold this position for 5 seconds and stop. Do this for six to eight reps.

Now do the other side.

While still standing or sitting straight with good posture and head position, keep looking forward. Place your left hand on the left side of your head. Now push your head to the right side while using your neck strength to resist the push. Hold this position for 5 seconds and stop. Do this neck exercise for six to eight reps.

Now your neck should feel a bit sore, but I have one more very good workout for you. If you’re feeling like your neck is too strained and you can’t push it any further, you can rest here. But I suggest resting and then trying to move to the last neck exercise. Make sure you keep doing these exercises lightly and do not push yourself too hard, these are meant to be light neck exercises.

If you feel severe pain, stop and call a doctor to discuss the situation you are dealing with and so they can help you resolve the pain in the neck you are currently feeling.


5. Neck extension over a bench

neck pain exercise

Don’t worry if you don’t have a bench, you can even do this on your bed. The goal is just to have something to lay on and to have your neck and head hanging off the edge of the bed.

Lay flat on your stomach with your hands to your sides and head hanging down, off the bed or bench. Tuck your chin in by putting your head into a neutral and straight position. Try to keep your head in this position and lift your head as far as you can go, hold that position for 5 seconds, then release and rest. Do this for six to eight reps.

You can do this for all sides of your neck. Turn onto your side and you can lift your neck to touch the shoulder that is facing upwards, hold for 5 seconds and release. Do this neck exercise for six to eight reps and release.

Then turn onto your back and lay flat on your back. Lift your head up and hold for 5 seconds, then release. Do this neck exercise again, for six to eight reps.

Lastly, turn onto your side again, this should be the opposite side, from the one you previously did. So, if you were laying on your right shoulder before, you should now be laying on your left shoulder. Do the same thing, lift your head up to the shoulder that is pointing upwards and hold for 5 seconds, then release. Do this neck exercise for six to eight reps.

This is a great neck exercise that has helped me develop a lot of neck strength, if done correctly and safely it can be very beneficial. You’ll often see this neck exercise being used in physical therapy for people with neck pain and injuries.

If you get to a point in this neck exercise where you feel strong enough, you can add some weight, slowly onto your neck. Start with light books and work your way up, start very light so you don’t damage your neck. As your strength builds up you can add more weight. This resistance will help you build the strength you need.



neck pain exercise diet

While doing these neck exercises, I suggest staying on a healthy and balanced diet. Make sure you’re getting enough protein and carbs daily to help fuel your body and recover. The carbs will fuel you will energy. The protein will help your neck muscles recover and become stronger than they were before. Try to get at least 60 grams of protein in daily, that should be a decent start for anyone and you won’t need a ton of protein since we are doing light neck exercises to build back your neck strength and help prevent future neck pain or neck injuries.



Neck pain is very common but not always serious, it can usually be due to poor posture habits and daily activities. In any case, if your situation is due to an injury or not, these neck exercises will work for anyone. I suggest doing these neck exercises consistently for about a month, that way you can see and feel the improvements. If the pain has gotten worse or is still the same after a few weeks, please call your doctor right away to get professional medical help. Once they find out the cause and give you a proper diagnosis you will have a better idea on how you can take care of your neck and live pain free.

Just keep these healthy habits in mind and you can return to this article if you need a refresher on the neck exercises or if the pain comes back. Be sure to bookmark the article for future reference.


Disclaimer: We do not claim any of the images, they are free for use images, we take no credit for them.

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