Neck Pain Exercises: 5 Activities You Should Be Wary Of

neck pain exercises, upper neck pain

Do you love spending time at the gym but fear that your intense exercise routine will worsen your neck pain? Are you concerned that a seemingly simple upper neck pain issue will eventually lead to unpleasant health problems that can impact daily life? Quite a number of people feel the same way. Just like you, people who frequently have an achy neck ask questions like:

  • What physical activities should I skip altogether? 
  • Would it be better to explore the “gentler” option to stretch my muscles and boost my strength and agility? 
  • Am I overexerting my body and causing more harm than good?
  • What should I do if my neck pain doesn’t get better?

Let's help you address your concerns as we closely examine some of the worst exercises for someone with mild to severe neck pain. Also, we will look into a natural way to manage your symptoms so you can go back to enjoying your workout sessions sans neck pain-related worries. 

#1. Sit-ups and crunches

Although sit-ups and crunches are popular core strengthening and conditioning exercises, they can put a lot of stress on the neck. So, when you perform these exercises, avoid tucking your chin to your chest. Otherwise, you risk straining the neck muscles and potentially worsening neck pain. If you have an existing neck injury, it's best to avoid these exercises altogether.

#2. Heavy weightlifting

While heavy weightlifting exercises like deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses are great for enhancing your muscle strength, they can spell bad news for your neck. Holding a barbell or weight above your head can cause your cervical spine to hyperextend or overstretch, leading to an achy sensation that lingers for days. 

#3. Headstands and handstands

While headstands and handstands are excellent yoga poses that promote flexibility, they can hurt your neck if you execute them poorly. When performing these poses, the body's weight is supported by the neck, which can lead to worse neck pain and discomfort. It's best to steer clear from these poses until the pain subsides and opt for gentle yoga positions like the cat-cow and downward-facing dog pose. 

#4. Running on a treadmill

While a few minutes on the treadmill can help boost your cardio health, maintaining a poor running posture can hurt your neck. Some examples of the posture you should avoid while running on the treadmill are as follows: 

  • Looking down at the ground while running
  • Craning your head excessively
  • Slouching or hunching your shoulders
  • Failing to engage your glutes

#5. Shoulder shrugs

Shoulder shrugs are an effective exercise for strengthening the trapezius muscles but can also cause neck pain if done incorrectly. Lifting the shoulders towards the ears can cause the neck muscles to tense up and become strained, leading to discomfort. If you experience neck pain during shoulder shrugs, try reducing the weight or switching to a lateral raise.

neck pain exercises, upper neck pain

Enjoy an Active Life: Address Your Upper Neck Pain with an Upper Cervical Doctor

Indeed, certain exercises can potentially worsen or cause neck pain. As a result, avoiding or modifying such activities is important so your neck doesn’t suffer the consequences. Keep in mind the exercises listed above the next you hit the gym. Also, make it a habit to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have a history of neck pain or injury.

One healthcare professional you can ask is an Upper Cervical Chiropractor. Neck pain showing no improvement within days or weeks can indicate a C1 and C2 bone misalignment. Hence, getting yourself assessed is crucial to gauge the extent of your neck bone subluxation. The sooner your Upper Cervical doctor understands your situation, the sooner you can receive the adjustments. 

Book your consultation with a licensed and board-certified Upper Cervical Doctor in your city today!


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Find_An_Upper_Cervical_Doctor.png
to schedule a consultation today.
Find an Upper Cervical Specialist In Your Area

to schedule a consultation today.

Featured Articles


Montel Williams
Montel Williams

TV show host Montel Williams describes how specific chiropractic care has helped his body.

NBC's The Doctors

The TV show "The Doctors" showcased Upper Cervical Care.

CBS News/Migraine Relief

CBS News highlighted the alleviation of Migraines and Headaches.

The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.