Experts share how to Prevent Neck Pain from Exercise


Experts share how to Prevent Neck Pain from Exercise

Neck injuries

Headaches, long afternoons spent at the desk and anxiety about whether an acupuncture needle could hit the wrong spot – You’ve got it, we’re living in a world that’s a little like Tetris for neck pain.

Should you choose to stop looking down at your phone and head to the gym? You guessed it; More potential neck pain.

It’s always a risk, and our personal trainers are passionate enough to ensure that nobody has to shrug it off.

When you hit the gym to improve your physique, getting neck pain afterwards shouldn’t be your karma.

Let’s make sure to prevent any neck pain from exercise here on in.

The Must-Know Information

You can easily prevent neck strain or injury at the gym by achieving three key things:

  • The Right Technique
  • Good Posture
  • Having Enough Time To Rest


The tricky thing about achieving this balance is that muscles must tear in order to renew and build. So, let’s find out exactly where people usually go wrong.

This article includes:

  • Work your muscle groups to avoid neck pain.
  • Stretches and workout moves to recover from neck pain
  • Other solutions for your neck pain


Work your muscle groups to avoid neck pain

Can you imagine doing a series of deadlifts only to turn around and realise that your head doesn’t move either way? Perhaps you’ve already had this happen to you, just from sleeping on the wrong pillow. Another common neck injury is when gym-goers can’t lift their arms above their shoulder blade.

Neck injuries often result from exercise, lifestyle choices or a combination of the two that can lead to expensive Chiropractor visits.

Absolutely, these are the kind of exercise injuries that we aim to avoid at our gym with personal training sessions one on one because your body is for life. So first, we’re going to show you where the neck muscles are, and tell you how they can become interlocked.

Muscle Knot

What’s a ‘Muscle Knot’? A muscle knot happens when your shoulders become contracted and lock together, which is caused from strenuous activity when your muscles aren’t relaxing properly after a movement.

A ‘muscle knot’ may come from 3 different main muscle groups that you use to exercise.


  1. The Trapezius

The Trapezius

Your upper trapezius originates from your lower head and adjoins to the collarbone.  Pain that exists in this area usually comes from tugging during exercise. The muscles exist symmetrically on both sides and can cause pain to radiate around the neck to the front of the eyes. When exercise creates an overactive upper trapezius, you’ll have to stop your muscles from a pattern of overcompensation and work on improving your flexibility.


  1. The Levator Scapulae

The Levator Scapulae

Starting at the side of the neck and inserting into the top of your shoulder blade, the levator is true to its name and plays a key role in levitation with raising and rotation. Excessive lifting or tension in the shoulders can cause knots to form in this area.

Movements that work these muscles typically include the dumbbell or hex bar shrug, in addition to the upright row, med ball clean and sumo deadlift high pull.


  1. The Sternocleidomastoid

The Sternocleidomastoid

This third muscle is actually located at the back of the head to assist with balance and movement. It joins from the sternum to the back of the head, as well as from the base of the spine and ear to the collarbone.  Pain in this area can feel like a headache that radiates around the upper part of the body.

Stretches and Workout moves to recover from neck pain

  • Chin retractions
  • Shoulder blade squeezes
  • Head drops
  • Side bends
  • Levator Scapulae Stretch

Workout Moves: Check out our blog post about yoga moves for neck pain.

Stretch to prevent neck pain after your work out.

If you want to avoid or recover from any neck injury from the gym, stretches can both assist you to improve your flexibility and alleviate any stiffness that’s caused by neck pain.


Chin Retractions

  1. Lie down and bend your knees. Make sure your nose is pointed straight toward the ceiling.
  2. Slowly nod your head up and down without using your neck.

Repetitions: 10 times, without going fast. Once you feel ready, move it up to 20.

Number of Sets: 3



Shoulder Blaze Squeezes

  1. Let your arms hang freely by your sides with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Relax your shoulders before squeezing both of your shoulder blades together.
  3. Hold your shoulders together for 2 seconds before a gentle release.

Repetitions: 10 times

Number of Sets: 1


Head Drops

  1. Sit down cross legged with palms on the floor beside you.
  2. Tilt your heads backwards as far as you can towards your lower spine.
  3. Once stretched, return your head back to its natural position.

Repetitions: 10 times

Number of Sets: 2


Side bends

  1. Place your right hand on the top of your head.
  2. Now push your head in the right direction with the help of your hand until you feel a stretch.
  3. Stop just before you start to bend your body. Now return to a neutral position.

Repetitions: 5 times, right and left sides.


Levator Scapulae Stretch

  1. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and then raise your right arm upwards, and bend it backwards to place your right hand on your right shoulder blade.
  2. Push your hand down the shoulder blade, then turn your head to the left 45 degrees.
  3. Lower your chin to your collarbone and hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Repetitions: Approximately 3 times either side.

Other solutions for neck pain:

Hey, we’re glad you asked.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an integrated holistic approach to healing that’s both non-invasive and non-toxic. If you’re looking to turn your head without pain again, The Pain Relief and Wellness Clinic in Darlinghurst is a top choice for relieving pain, improving mobility and reducing the stress levels that contribute to poor health. Over the course of your treatment, acupressure or trigger points are adapted to target the most effective areas.

Chiropractor:  For a non-surgical treatment option that’s drug-free and non-invasive a Chiropractor may be able to assist with intervertebral disc injuries that don’t require surgery. Chiropractic care is a non-surgical treatment option for neck pain that may help reduce your neck pain and related symptoms. Anthony Memmolo at Edgecliff Chiropractic is based close to our gym on New South Head Road in Edgecliff.


Remedial Massage: By relieving chronic pain and muscle tension in the neck with remedial massage, you can experience a range of health benefits ranging from improved sleep to reduced joint stress, enhanced energy and more. For a local remedial massage option, try Rushcutters Health in Rushcutters Bay.



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