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Neck & Back Exercises for Whiplash

author image James Patterson
James Patterson specializes in health and wellness topics, having written and produced material for the National Institutes of Health, the President's Cancer Panel and an Inc. 500 Hall of Fame company. He is also a former sportswriter with writing experience in basketball, baseball, softball, golf and other popular sports.
Neck & Back Exercises for Whiplash
A man is suffering from whiplash. Photo Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images


While most times whiplash is not a severe enough condition to put you in the hospital for an extended period of time, it is nonetheless painful and uncomfortable. Recovering from whiplash includes getting plenty of rest, keeping your neck still for a certain period of time prescribed by your doctor, and stretching and strengthening exercises under the guidance of your health care provider. Stop any exercises if you feel pain or significant discomfort and only do them when cleared by your doctor.

Neck Rotation

Sit or stand facing forward with your arms at your side. Slowly turn your head to the left, keeping your shoulders and upper body still. Turn your head as far as you can without experiencing pain or discomfort. Hold this position for two to three seconds, then return your head to the starting position. Turn your head to the right, repeating the exercise in the other direction. Repeat both rotations three to five times as part of your exercise or rehabilitation routine.

Anterior Shoulder Stretch

Whiplash doesn’t just affect your neck muscles. It can cause tension and discomfort through your upper back as well. The anterior shoulder stretch helps stretch out these muscles to help relieve your pain. Stand up with your back straight and your feet about shoulder length apart for balance. Reach both arms back behind your body and grasp your hands together. Pull your arms up toward the ceiling while keeping your back straight and perpendicular to the floor to achieve the most effective stretch.

Sternocleomastoid Stretch

This stretch gets its name from the group of muscles that wraps over your shoulder from your neck and attaches to your clavicle bone, also known as the collar bone. Stand or sit with your back straight and your hand on one shoulder. Tilt your head back and to the side opposite your hand. You should feel the stretch in the same side of your neck as where your hand is. Hold the stretch for five to 10 seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat for the other side.

Supraspinatus Stretch

This stretch targets the upper-back muscles around the shoulders. Stand straight up and put the backs of your palms on your sides toward the middle of your back. Your elbows should be pointing out. Arch your back so your chest is sticking out and roll your shoulders up and down to help stretch out your upper back. You can also combine this stretch with a normal neck roll by rolling your neck back and forth and side to side at the same time you stretch out your upper back.

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