Neck Arthritis: Exercises

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Here are some examples of exercises for you to try. The exercises may be suggested for a condition or for rehabilitation. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercises if you start to have pain.

You will be told when to start these exercises and which ones will work best for you.

How to do the exercises

Neck stretches to the side

Picture of a neck stretch to the side
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slide 1 of 5, 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

Picture of chin tuck exercise
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slide 2 of 5, 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

Picture of neck stretches
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slide 3 of 5, 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

Picture of shoulder blade squeeze
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slide 4 of 5, 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

Picture of shoulder rolls exercise
slide 5 of 5
slide 5 of 5, 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.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.