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McKenzie Exercises for the Neck

author image Keith Strange
Keith Strange spent more than a decade as a staff writer for newspapers in the southeastern United States, winning numerous awards for his work. He has a B.S. in wellness/sports medicine from Averett University and completed graduate work in exercise physiology. Strange is a former competitive martial artist and holds a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do.
McKenzie Exercises for the Neck
A man is teaching a woman to stretch his neck. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

The McKenzie rehabilitation method is a physical therapy methodology that teaches patients exercises to help manage pain that originates in the spine, according to It is also effective at treating chronic neck pain that is caused by long-term force in one direction by helping to restore range of motion in your neck. You should always check with your doctor before starting any rehabilitative exercise program.

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Lying Neck Stretch

This exercise is performed while lying on your stomach and can be effective at helping alleviate neck pain caused by stiffness. Lie down on your stomach with both arms relaxed at your sides and your head turned to one side. Relax and allow your body weight to stretch your neck in the direction your head is turned. Steps Physiotherapy recommends you hold this position for five to 10 minutes and perform this exercise several times throughout the day.

Chin Tuck

The McKenzie chin tuck, or head retraction, can be performed either from a sitting or standing position and can help lengthen the upper spine, according to Dr. Shane Mangrum. It is performed by keeping your eyes focused on something in front of your and pulling your head back toward your shoulders, while keeping your head as stationary as possible. On the website,, Mangrum suggests you perform the chin tuck multiple times daily to help alleviate neck pain.

Neck Mobility Exercises

These exercises can be performed from either a standing or sitting position, and include range of motion activities for your neck. Stand or sit with your mouth closed and your eyes facing forward. Begin by moving your neck to one side with your eyes still facing forward and hold this movement as prescribed by your doctor. Repeat on the other side. Follow these exercises by turning your head slowly to one side, then the other, using slow and controlled motions. Repeat these exercises as directed by your physician.

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