Anybody who has experienced stiff neck can attest that it is not a joke. Aside from the pain which can be sharp and excruciating, it also limits your movement and affects your daily activities. While it usually just goes away after a few days, there are things you can do to speed up your recovery and maximize your mobility and functionality. Other than the usual treatments for stiff neck, you can perform certain exercises to ease the pain, stiffness and other conditions.

Different Stiff Neck Exercises

Stiff neck stretching exercises are beneficial to stiff neck. They relax the neck muscles and promote mobility, at the same providing pain relief. The following are some of the basic and easy-to-follow exercises you can try:

  • Chin Nod Exercise

To perform this exercise, you need to lie down. Place a pillow under your head and bend your knees. Once you are comfortably in this position, you can start with the exercise proper. Nod your head gently and slowly towards your chest. Hold this position for a few seconds until you can feel your neck muscles harden and then relax. Repeat the movement several times.

  • Head Rotation

For this exercise, you also need to place a pillow under your head while lying down, with your knees bent. Then gently turn your head sideways from left to right. While doing this, keep your shoulders and body flat on the floor or mat. Repeat this for several times or as needed.

  • Retraction and Protraction

Sit on a chair. Make sure that your back is straight and your shoulders relaxed. While keeping the rest of your body still and straight, retract and protract your head horizontally at your own pace. Do this gently and slowly. Repeat as needed.

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  • Side Bend

Again, for this exercise, sit on a chair with your shoulders down and your back straight. Then slowly and gently tilt your head from side to side. When doing this, take time to feel your neck muscles stretched. Repeat for a few times or as needed.

  • Extension Exercise

This exercise is similar to chin nod exercise but sitting. Sit on a chair and relax your shoulders and straighten your back. Then slowly nod your head down to your chest. After this, tilt your head backwards as far as you can. Make sure that you do it gently and only up to the point where it is comfortable and tolerable. Repeat this motion several times.


Aside from stiff neck exercises, there are also other stiff neck treatments you can try. You don’t have to limit yourself to one treatment. A combination of these, coupled with exercises, are encouraged:

  • Apply hot compress or warm cloth on the affected spot. This will relax the muscles and promote better blood circulation in the area. This helps ease the pain and improve mobility of the neck and shoulders.
  • You can also try getting a soft massage. Just make sure that the neck pain doesn’t get worst during the massage.
  • Take pain relievers. This will provide temporary relief to the neck pain and discomfort. But only take the meds as directed.
  • Rest and relax. Sometimes, all you need is a good day’s rest and to relieve yourself from stress. The stiff neck usually goes away on its own after you take some time to rest.

Impact of Stiff Neck Exercises

Most neck exercises provide pain relief. They also relax the muscles and promote mobility in the area. This will highly impact your daily life as it will allow you to move your neck comfortably and do certain things. However, if the exercises don’t provide relief after several tries or if your stiff neck has gotten worst after the exercise, it’s time to seek the help of professionals. For your stiff neck and pain concerns, contact Arizona Pain and Spine Institute.