Isometric Neck Exercises?please AVOID them!!

Several papers exist that support the retraining of the segmental, deep neck flexors for individuals with ‘chronic’ neck pain and cervical headaches.

Once the deep segmental muscles have been addressed it is essential to address the superficial muscles of the cervical spine.

In my experience, isometric neck exercises are of little value and may in fact sometimes be harmful to patients with cervical clinical instability.

(In one case, I instructed a patient to, “STOP doing the isometric neck exercises that she had been doing for the past 6 months”…within two days her neck symptoms dramatically improved.)

Rehabilitation of the knee ALWAYS includes strengthening of the quadriceps & hamstrings through range (…not just isometrically)

Rehabilitation of the shoulder ALWAYS includes rotator cuff retraining through range (…not just isometrically)

Then why is muscular rehabilitation of the cervical spine so often limited to ONLY isometric retraining?

An excellent method of retraining the superficial muscles of the cervical spine through range is by using an ‘STP Neck Exerciser'(available on

Using this simple adjustable leather strap (with Velcro) helps effectively strengthen the cervical muscles through a functional arc of motion. (Only light resistance from an elastic tubing is needed.)

(You may be creative and make your own neck exerciser!)

Posted on: March 06, 2008

Categories: Cervical Spine

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