Neck Pain Exercises – Do This One First.

Neck Pain Exercises – Do This One First. Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic

14 Sep Neck Pain Exercises – Do This One First.

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So, you’re looking for neck pain exercises.

Before I blindly prescribe you any random solution for your problem, we need to talk.

Otherwise, you’re bound to waste your time and energy trying to fix your problem with a tiny possibility (less than 25% chance) of getting relief.

If you’re going to do this exercise, I want to virtually guarantee that it is going to help you. You’ll know that when you start doing the exercise, and you do it daily for two weeks, it’s going to help with almost 100% certainty.

You’ll have better posture and less pain with sitting, texting, or reading.

Let’s stack the odds with some perspective.

Why Do You Have Neck Pain in the First Place?

In practice treating people who have had neck pain for months to years, I can’t believe how often people:

  • ignore their pain.
  • do things that are completely worthless when it comes to relieving their pain.

These two points cause me to conclude:

Most people don’t understand that pain is our greatest teacher when it comes to musculoskeletal health.

Pain is always a sign that you’re doing too much.

In doctor or biomechanical language, pain happens when load exceeds capacity.


  • Load (water) = the work you do.
  • Capacity (your bucket) = the work your body is able to do.

You have pain to teach you that you’re using a body part too much. You’re over-working it. You’re putting excessive stress on it and your body is damaged. It’s desperately trying to get you to stop doing whatever you’re doing and put the fire out. Sometimes extinguishing the fire means resting. Other times, it means getting a diagnosis for  your problem so that you can use the best possible tool or solution to fix it.


For now, all I need you to know is that your neck is pissed off.

The longer you’ve had your pain (more than a few months) and the more intense your pain is (moderate to severe), the larger the fire is and the greater the damage will be to the “foundation” or structure of “your home”.

Generally, the Most Common Reasons for Neck Pain are …

The most common reasons for neck pain and neck pain exercises are:

  • car accidents,
  • prolonged sitting, even with good posture,
  • prolonged sitting with bad posture,
  • excessive texting,
  • upper back, shoulder, and neck weakness (hence, the reason for this blog post),
  • all of the above leading to adhesion and other bony/cartilage problems that cannot be fixed,

Most people know when they:

  • sit too much,
  • have bad posture,
  • are weak,
  • were in a car accident,

When you realize that what you are doing is directly contributing to your pain, you can start to immediately:

  • sit less.
  • consciously change your posture.
  • strengthen (don’t worry, it’s coming).
  • given your car accident, get a diagnosis for your neck so you know what is damaged.

In fact, a failure to implement the above changes guarantees that you will never find permanent relief as the years pass by.

With our chronic neck pain sufferers, we insist that patients implement the above changes.

We only want to be involved with success cases. Because we don’t want to be a part of a failure, we discharge the patient who cannot comply immediately.

You may as well start now to implement the changes you know you need to implement right now.

The Most Important Neck Pain Exercise You Should Be Doing

The reason why this neck pain exercise is so important is that all of us human beings tend to have the same path of pain, weakness, and degeneration.

We’ve all seen people who have this posture.


Due to excessive sitting and not enough strength in the back, the head starts to fall further and further forward.

This can be prevented by keeping the head over the spine and shoulders in the first place. Imagine taking the above gentlemen’s ear and moving it back 3″ so he is nice and upright. That’s what we’re doing with this exercise.  We’re strengthening the muscles in the front of your neck, right underneath your throat and esophagus.

I call it Quadruped Chin Retraction.

  • Quadruped = you’re on all fours.
  • Chin Retraction = the most important part of the movement.

How to Do Quadruped Chin Retraction

Get on all fours.

Get into Position 1 by tucking your chin straight backwards. You should feel tension in the front of your neck where your throat is. Notice in the below picture that Meg’s face is relatively parallel with the table/ground.


Get into Position 2 by letting your chin jut out straight towards the ground. The front of your neck will now be relaxed. Notice, her face is still relatively parallel to the ground.


Now, get into Position 3 by bringing your chin as close to your sternum as possible. Emphasize this movement by forcing your chin into your sternum, allowing you to feel as much tension in the front of your neck as possible.


From here, keep the tension in the front of your neck and go back to Position 1, making sure you feel the tension in the front of your neck the entire time.

That’s one repetition.

In real-time, the exercise looks like this:

I recommend you start with 2 sets of 5 repetitions daily, with at least 90 seconds in between both sets.

Many of our patients choose to do one set in the morning and one set at night. This strategy has the added benefit of keeping your focus on the well-being of your neck.

As the sets are pain-free and become easier, increase the amount of reps in the following format:

  • 2 x 8 reps – when that gets easy, increase to ….
  • 2 x 12 reps – when that gets easy, increase to …
  • 2 x 15 reps  – when that gets easy, continue performing this exercise 2-3 times per week. Congrats, you’re in Neck Maintenance Mode!

Got Pain With This Neck Pain Exercise?

If at any point, you have pain with this exercise, you know two things for sure:

  1. You have a cervical disc problem. It would be wise to get an MRI.
  2. You need treatment. A failure to fix this pain during this exercise will only cause your spine to degenerate much faster than it already has up to this point.

The best pain doctors in the world are Integrative Diagnosis practitioners. Find one here.

Or if you live in the tri-state area, Barefoot Rehab is the only practice in North Jersey certified to find and fix adhesion.

Call us at 862-205-4847.

speechbubblesLet me know how you do with this after ONE week? Does your neck feel better?  Do you have greater ease holding your posture?

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Dr. Chris Stepien, DC, Full-Body ID Certified, ART Certified, CSCS, and CrossFit Level 1 Certified, fixes your annoying and frustrating pains, even when it's been over 6 months and you've seen 3-5 other doctors or therapists without lasting relief Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ. And when you're sad, depressed, or not enjoying life, Dr. Chris wants to hug you. He invites you to reach out, no matter what your concern is. Barefoot Rehab is here to serve you.
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