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Many of us experience a stiff neck from sleeping on a bad mattress pillow, stress or simple overuse. Neck pain is often accompanied by a stiff neck and headaches.
Often the stiff neck is the main cause for neck pain and headaches.
Often the stiff neck is the main cause for neck pain and headaches.
What you may not know is that a pinched nerve in your neck does not cause headaches. In fact a pinched nerve at the neck will cause shooting pain in your arm. Pain associated with neck stress stems from the joints in your neck that get locked or stuck causing headaches and acute pain. Under extreme stress, your neck muscles and tissue tighten up to protect you. The added pressure on your nerves can pinch nerve endings, leading to pain and stiffness.
Simple strength-training exercises help relieve neck pain. Before attempting any exercise program make an appointment with your physical therapist to accurately assess your condition. Your doctor will develop a physical therapy program to treat your individual situation.
Proper technique is critical to any recovery program. Good posture helps to avoid future injury and is a must when performing any exercise therapy. Practice good posture when performing these exercises:
  • Place your bodyweight on the back of your feet
  • Slightly bend your knees
  • Pull your stomach in
  • Stretch up your chest
  • Lift up your head
Start with this simple mobility exercise to treat neck pain.
  • Wrap a towel around your neck
  • Take with your left hand the right side of the towel and with your right hand the left side
  • Now lift the hand that is in front up until the towel is at the same height as your cheek
  • Now pull with your arm and the towel your head in full rotation to the side
  • Repeat this 10 times and then change to the opposite side by changing your hands
  • Finally grasp the towel normal and lift your arms up and look up at the same time
Neck Tilt: From the sitting position, tilt your head down so your chin touches your chest. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Side-to-Side Neck Tilt: From the same starting position, tilt you neck toward one shoulder, leading with your ear. Hold for 5 seconds and then return to the starting position.
Neck Turn: Look straight ahead, then turn your head to one side, keeping your chin at the same level.
Neck Stretch: Holding the rest of your body straight, push your chin forward, stretching your throat. Hold for 5 seconds. From the same starting position, push your chin backward and hold for 5 seconds. Do the forward and backward stretch.
Head Pull: While seated, turn your head slightly to the left and look down toward your left knee. With your left hand, gently pull your head in the same direction until you feel a stretch in the upper right trap (the muscle on the right side of the back of your neck). Hold stretch for 30 seconds.
Immediately stop exercising if the pain in your neck worsens or if you experience weakness in your hands and arms. Contact your doctor and get help.


To learn more about physical therapy and treatment plans for neck pain, set up a free exploratory examination with one of our doctors today.
Moriarty Physical Therapy is the premier physical therapist provider here in the Hudson Valley with centers located near you. To find out more about physical therapy or to book your first appointment with a physical therapist, visit our website at or contact Moriarty Physical Therapy at (845) 454-4137.

Schedule a FREE 15-minute Exploration Visit

Come visit one of our physical therapy clinics in New York or North Carolina and one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy will do a 15-minute consultation to see if physical therapy is right for you. In the consultation, we’ll help determine the source of pain and movement restrictions to see if you would benefit from physical therapy or might need the assistance of another healthcare professional. If so, we’ll make a referral and help speed up achieving your health goal.

You have nothing to lose; the screening is free! And if physical therapy could help you, we can perform the examination right then–even without a prescription–with Direct Access (covered by insurance).

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