Midtown Manhattan 36 W 44th St Ste 914 New York, NY 10036

Neck and Upper Back Exercises

Neck stretch

Neck Stretch Exercise
  1. Keeping your shoulders down and relaxed, tip your right ear down toward your right shoulder. Be sure not to lift your shoulder or turn your head to the side.
  2. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. While continuing to breathe, slowly return your head to the center.
  4. Then, tip your left ear down toward your left shoulder. Be sure not to lift your shoulder or turn your head to the side.
  5. Hold the stretch for another 15 to 30 seconds.
  6. While continuing to breathe, return your head to the center.
  7. For added stretch, raise your right arm, and drape it over your head until your palm reaches the left side of your head. Use your hand to gently pull your head a little farther towards your shoulder.
  8. Repeat the same steps on the opposite side, while trying to keep your shoulders down.
  9. Aim for at least 2 sets of 4 on each side.

Dorsal glide stretch

Dorsal glide stretch Exercise
  1. Sit or stand nice and tall and look straight ahead.
  2. While keeping your face straight, glide your head backward and tuck your chin through to the back of your neck. You will get a good stretch on the back of your neck.
  3. Hold for a count of 6 and release.
  4. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps.

Chest and shoulder stretch

Chest and shoulder stretch Exercise
  1. Sit or stand nice and tall.
  2. Slowly glide your head backward and tuck your chin through to the back of your neck (dorsal glide).
  3. Lift both of your arms, bending them at your elbows, with your hands at the level of the top of your head. Your palms should be facing up. The position of your arms should resemble the one when someone says, “hand up,” and you raise your arms.
  4. Take a deep breath. Upon exhaling, drop your elbows down and take your arms behind your back. You will feel your shoulder blades gliding down and together, along with a gentle stretch across your chest and shoulders.
  5. Hold for a count of 6 seconds and relax while slowly returning to the starting position.
  6. Aim for at least 2 to 4 reps.

Chin tuck

Chin tuck Exercise
  1. Lie on your back with your arms by your side and a rolled-up towel under your neck. Place the towel in such a way that your head rests on the floor and is not elevated.
  2. Tuck your chin by bringing it down towards your chest. You will feel a gentle stretch on the back of your neck.
  3. Hold the stretch for a count of 6.
  4. Slowly lower your head down and release the chin tuck.
  5. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps.

Anterior cervical rotation

Anterior cervical rotation Exercise
  1. Sit in a chair or stand upright.
  2. Gently turn your head to your right, looking over your right shoulder.
  3. Hold for 15 to 13 seconds, and gently bring your head back to the center.
  4. Then, gently rotate your head to your left, looking over your left shoulder.
  5. Hold for 15 to 13 seconds, and gently bring your head back to the center.
  6. Aim for at least 2 sets of 4 on each side.

Shoulder blade squeeze

Shoulder blade squeeze Exercise
  1. Stand or sit up tall with your arms on your sides and your elbows bent at a 90-degrees angle.
  2. Relax your shoulders.
  3. Grab each end of the resistance band in both hands with your palms facing up.
  4. Keeping your elbows still and fix to your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Then, stretch the resistance band by moving your forearms to the outside.
  5. Hold for a count of 6 seconds.
  6. Slowly return to the original position and relax.
  7. Aim for at least 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Shoulder rolls

Shoulder roll Exercise
  1. Sit or stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms to your sides. Slightly tuck your chin.
  2. First, lift your shoulders up towards your ears.
  3. While keeping your back straight, gently circle your shoulders up, forward, down, and back, making small circles.
  4. Complete a set of 4 in one direction.
  5. Return your shoulders to the center.
  6. Then switch the direction, rotating your shoulders up and backwards.
  7. Aim for a set of 4 in each direction.

Levator scapula stretch

diagonal neck stretch Exercise
  1. Sit in a chair, or stand upright, with both hands by your sides.
  2. Lean your head towards one shoulder.
  3. Then, slowly turn your head and neck down like you’re trying to look inside your pocket. You will feel a good stretch on the back and side of your neck. Allow the weight of your head to stretch your neck muscles as you tilt down.
  4. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, or as tolerated.
  5. For more augmented stretch, you can raise the hand on the side of your tilted head and place it on the back of your head. Then, gently pull it down a tad bit more. Be sure to keep your other shoulder down.
  6. Relax and repeat on the other side.

Upper trapezius stretch

Upper trapezius stetch Exercise
  1. Sit in a chair nice and tall or stand upright.
  2. If doing the exercise in a chair, grab the side of your chair seat with your right hand. Doing this will help ensure that your shoulders are down and relaxed.
  3. Tuck your chin in slightly.
  4. Tilt your head towards your left shoulder while looking straight ahead.
  5. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  6. For added stretch, take your arm opposite to the side where you are tilting your head, to reach behind your back. For instance, if you are tilting your head to your left, take your right hand behind and place the top of your hand on your lower back.
  7. Slowly return your head and neck to the center.
  8. Repeat steps 1 through 6 on the opposite side.
  9. Aim for at least 2 to 4 reps on each side.

Forward neck flexion

Forward neck flexion Exercise
  1. Sit or stand upright.
  2. Take a deep breath.
  3. Bend your head forward. You can augment the stretch by bending your head with the help of your hand placed on the back of your head. Then, very gently drop your chin down. You will feel a gentle stretch in the back of your neck. Do not push hard with your hand on the back of your hand.
  4. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Return to the starting position with your head held erect in the center.
  6. Aim for at least 5-6 reps.

Lateral side bend strengthening

Lateral side bend strengthening Exercise
  1. Stand or sit straight.
  2. Take your right hand and put the first two fingers on your right temple.
  3. Then, turn your head to the side where you’ve placed your fingers while at the same time using gentle pressure from your fingers to prevent your head from doing so.
  4. Hold for a count of 6 seconds.
  5. Switch hands and repeat the same steps on the other side.
  6. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps on each side.

Forward bend strengthening

Forward bend strengthening Exercise
  1. Stand or sit straight.
  2. Take your right hand and put the first two fingers on your forehead.
  3. Then, glide your head forward while at the same time press your fingers on your forehead to prevent your head from going forward.
  4. Hold for a count of 6 seconds.
  5. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps.

Neutral position strengthening

Neutral position strengthening Exercise
  1. Raise one hand and place the fingers on the back of your head right around the top of your neck.
  2. Then, as you move your head backward, press your fingers to prevent your head from doing so.
  3. Hold for a count of 6 seconds.
  4. Switch hands and repeat the same steps on the other side.
  5. Aim for at least 8 to 12 reps on each side.

Lower neck and upper back stretch upperback

Lower neck and upper back stretch Exercise
  1. Stand upright and raise your arms to your shoulder height.
  2. Stretch your arms out in front of you.
  3. Lower your chin towards your chest.
  4. Keeping your arms straight, place the palm of one hand on top of your other hand.
  5. As you round your upper back, try to reach forward so your shoulder blades stretch away from each other. You’ll feel a gentle stretch along your upper back, shoulders, and upper arms.
  6. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  7. Aim for at least 2 to 4 reps.

Midback stretch

Midback stretch Exercise
  1. Begin with kneeling on the floor and resting your hips on your heels.
  2. Drop your head and chest down towards your knees. As you do this, stretch your arms out in front of you so your palms come to rest flat on the floor.
  3. Try to bring your forehead as close to the floor as possible while keeping your arms straight.
  4. Aim to hold this pose for at least 20 seconds or preferably 30 seconds or even longer
  5. Don’t forget to breathe. Focusing on your breathing can help you deal with any pain or discomfort.
  6. Gently return to the starting position while you continue to breathe.
  7. Complete 2 sets of 4.

Wall push-up

Scapular exercises wall push ups Exercise
  1. Stand at least 12 to 18 inches from a wall with your face towards it.
  2. Spread your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Raise your arms and place both hands on the wall at the level of your shoulder height.
  4. Keeping your body straight, bend your elbows, and move your face closer to the wall. Be sure not to arch your back or poke your chin forward.
  5. Gently push the heels of your hands into the wall. Doing this will cause your shoulder blades to isolate and contract.
  6. Hold for a count of 6 seconds.
  7. Return to the starting position.
  8. Do at least 8 to 12 reps.

Straight arm shoulder blade squeeze

Straight arm shoulder blade squeeze Exercise
  1. Stand or sit up tall with your arms on your sides.
  2. Relax your shoulders.
  3. Take a resistance band and hold each end of the band straight in front of you with your palms facing down.
  4. Holding your arms straight and at shoulder height, pull the band straight out to the sides until your shoulder blades contract.
  5. Hold for a count of 6 seconds.
  6. Slowly return to the original position and relax.
  7. Aim for at least 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

Resisted rows

Resisted row png Exercise
  1. Put the band around a solid object, such a bedpost, at about waist level. Hold one end of the band in each hand.
  2. With your elbows at your sides and bent to 90 degrees, pull the band back to move your shoulder blades toward each other. Return to the starting position.
  3. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Head Roll

Neck Head Roll Exercise
  1. Stand straight with your weight evenly distributed between your feet or sit in a chair nice and tall.
  2. Slightly drop your chin towards your chest.
  3. Slowly roll your head to your right so that your right ear is above your right shoulder. You will feel a deep stretch on the sides of your neck.
  4. Hold the stretch for a count of 5 seconds. Do not shrug your shoulders up during the entire exercise.
  5. Slowly rotate your head back down towards your chest.
  6. Then, slowly roll your head to your left. Tilt your neck so that your left ear is above your left shoulder.
  7. Hold for a count of 5 seconds.
  8. Tilt your chin and head back so your eyes now face the ceiling, and slowly roll your head clockwise three times. Pay heed to how your neck feels during this movement.
  9. Then reverse this motion, and slowly roll your head in a counterclockwise circle three times more.
  10. Do at least 3 sets of 3.
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