In an interview with the Health Channel, Brian Betancourt, Exercise Physiologist with Baptist Health South Florida, talks about neck exercises and how to do them safely. Brian says that he recommends neck exercises to patients complaining about neck pain but warns to make sure you are doing them properly.
Before delving into different exercises, Brian advises that you have to keep your cervical spine as stable as possible. So, when you do exercises you should not be attaching weight to your head and trying to lift with your neck. It would be counterintuitive and potentially harmful.
One exercise you can do is place your hand on the side of your head, make sure your neck is straight, apply pressure with your hand and resist the pressure with your neck, then switch sides and repeat the exercise. This exercise works out the lateral portions of your neck. You can do the same exercise applying pressure to the back of your head or to the front. It is imperative that you keep your neck straight during this exercise. Applying pressure to your head while it is at an angle could compromise your neck. You also want to make sure you apply pressure gradually and with care.
Brian says that you can do this exercise at least two to three times a week for neck pain and recommends two to three sets. Eventually, because it is such a low impact exercise, you can even do it once a day. You do not have to worry about the exercise tearing any muscle fibers if it is done properly. Brian suggests that you consult your physician prior to engaging in any form of neck exercise.
Watch the full segment of Brian Betancourt talking about neck exercises, here: https://youtu.be/6FAuwZHO6nU