Combined Exercise Program Benefits Patients With Chronic Neck Pain

As we explained in our last post, myofascial pain syndrome is a common condition that can affect any muscle in the body, but the muscles of the upper back, neck, and shoulder are most likely to be involved. The deep, aching pain and stiffness that results from the characteristic trigger points of myofascial pain syndrome often then go on to impair one’s mobility and degrade quality of life in the process.

One of the best ways to avoid myofascial pain in these regions is to keep the muscles of the trunk and upper spine strong and flexible. To accomplish this, we recommend regularly performing exercises that target these problematic muscles, which will help to reduce the risk myofascial pain and alleviate pain if it does develop. Here are our top 4 exercises for preventing myofascial pain:

Our top 4 exercises for myofascial pain

To see videos of each exercise, go to and enter prescription code 9ZWVZRK8

  1. Seated trunk rotation

    • Sit in a chair with one arm over the backrest

    • Reach across your body and grasp the back of the chair with your opposite arm

    • Slowly rotate your trunk until a stretch is felt

    • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds

    • Complete one set of three repetitions, every other day

  2. Seated spinal flexion/extension

    • Sit in a chair with your hands behind your head and back straight, and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart

    • Slowly bend forward, starting at the waist and gradually bending upper trunk and head toward the floor

    • Return to an upright position, leading with the head

    • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds

    • Complete one set of five repetitions, every other day

  3. Rhomboid stretch

    • Sit toward the middle or edge of a chair

    • Bend forward and grasp the opposite side of the leg of a chair with your hand

    • Keep your arm straight and slowly raise your body up while maintaining a grasp of the chair leg

    • Hold when you feel a comfortable stretch for 10 seconds

    • Complete one set of three repetitions, every other day

  4. Levator scapula stretch

    • Place one hand on the back of your neck and the other hand on top of your head

    • Sitting tall, use the hand on top of your head to pull your chin toward your armpit until a comfortable stretch is felt

    • Hold for 30 seconds

    • Complete one set of three repetitions, every other day

  5. In our next post, we’ll break down a study about a hands-on technique for myofascial pain.

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