Neck Problems:

As discussed in the “Physical Assessment & Imaging” section, a lot of common findings such as degenerative disease or even arthritis at the spine that people used to and continue to panic about are often not meaningful. The latter is because these findings are commonly found even with the non-symptomatic population.

However, a lot of neck problems originate from poor posture at the level of the neck. This is especially true for people who spends ++ hours in front of the computer or teachers who spends a lot of time doing corrections with their heads in a forward position.


As shown on image to the left, when a person has his head protruded or in a forward position, it would stretch out the muscles at the back of the neck. Our body would try to pull the head backwards to reach an equilibrium. In an effort to regain a neutral spine, the muscles (namely the upper traps & the levator scapula) have to work even harder and eventually get even tighter.

Note: This is one of the reasons why people who goes for massages feels better and loosened up right after a massage but these muscle groups tends to tighten up after a short while. Essentially, massaging these areas would free up tension but the upper traps would always tighten up if you do not make a conscious effort to straighten up the cervical spine & to perform stretches regularly.





Suggested Exercises To Improve Neck/ Cervical Posture:

1. Cervical Retraction:

1 – Tuck in your chin + fixate on something at eye level at all times.
2 – Glide your head backwards as much as possible without moving the shoulders.

Parameters:  2 x 10 reps by the hour.

2. Snow Angels:

1 – Stand against a wide wall with head touching the wall and tuck in your chin.
2 – Keep your hips and knees slightly bent to ensure that the lower back is leaning flat against the wall.
3 – With back of shoulders, elbows, and wrists touching the wall, raise the straightened arm up and down as if making snow angels against the wall.

Parameters: 20 reps up and down, as often as permitted.

Note: It is alright if you cannot have shoulders, elbows, and wrist against wall due to a lack of flexibility. You may slowly incorporate one component at a time starting from shoulders to  elbows to wrists and gradually work your way up.

3. General Stretches:

For all general stretches of the neck, hold for at least 20 seconds in order for it to be effective and perform 3-5 reps at least 3 times a day. Focus more on muscles that are actually tight and stop when a good stretch is felt. Tissues should notbe stretched to point when it is painful.

Upper Trapezius Stretch:

 Levator Scapula Stretch:

Sternocleidomastoid Stretch:

 Pectoralis Major & Minor Stretch:

Note: Some videos show a few ways to work the same muscle group, it is always good to learn and experiment with different ways of stretching since the positional change might work different fibers of the same muscle group.