Neck Arthritis: Exercises

Here are some examples of typical rehabilitation exercises for neck arthritis. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.

Your doctor or physical therapist will tell you when you can start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Neck stretches to the side

Neck Stretches to the side

  1. This stretch works best if you keep your shoulder down as you lean away from it. To help you remember to do this, start by relaxing your shoulders and lightly holding on to your thighs or your chair.
  2. Tilt your head toward your shoulder and hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Let the weight of your head stretch your muscles.
  3. Repeat 2 to 4 times toward each shoulder.

Chin tuck

Chin Tuck

  1. Lie on the floor with a rolled-up towel under your neck. Your head should be touching the floor.
  2. Slowly bring your chin toward your chest.
  3. Hold for a count of 6, and then relax for up to 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Active cervical rotation

Active cervical rotation

  1. Sit in a firm chair, or stand up straight.
  2. Keeping your chin level, turn your head to the right, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Turn your head to the left and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times to each side.

Shoulder blade squeeze

Shoulder blade squeeze

  1. While standing, squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  2. Do not raise your shoulders up as you are squeezing.
  3. Hold for 6 seconds.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Shoulder rolls

Shoulder rolls

  1. Sit comfortably with your feet shoulder-width apart. You can also do this exercise standing up.
  2. Roll your shoulders up, then back, and then down in a smooth, circular motion.
  3. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Care instructions adapted under license by Neuromuscular Spine & Joint Center. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Kopp Medical LLC, DBA Neurmomuscular Spine & Joint Center disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.