Neck - sprained

After we have ascertained a sprained or strained neck, we will provide a few exercises to do at home.

About your visit

We have examined you and have ascertained that you have sprained or strained your neck. We have provided you with a few exercises you can do at home.

When you get home

Pain and stiffness in the neck is normal

It is normal to experience headaches, pains and stiffness in your neck if you have sprained or strained it. You may also experience pain in your shoulders or arms.

In rare cases, you may hear a buzzing in your ears, experience reduced hearing, dizziness, problems swallowing or feel pain on your jaw. In most cases, these symptoms will disappear without treatment.

Contact your general practitioner if symptoms do not disappear or if they worsen

Contact your general practitioner or dial 1813 to reach the medical helpline outside your general practitioner’s opening hours if you experience:

  • sensory disturbances/numbness in your arms and legs
  • pain and stiffness in your neck for more than two weeks
  • a deterioration of your other symptoms.

Take pain-relieving medicine if you are in pain

You should take pain-relieving medicine if you are in pain. Pain-relieving medicine can be bought over the counter. Take only the amount of pain reliever recommended on the package. Contact your general practitioner if you need help managing the pain.  


It is important to rest when you feel tired, are in pain or feel dizzy or unwell.

Do not overload your body

Avoid overloading your body at first. Do not carry, lift or push heavy objects as this may exacerbate your symptoms.

Begin using your body normally after one week

After the first week, it is important that you move and use your body as you usually would, even if it hurts. Moving normally is important to maintain flexibility in your neck and prevent long-term stiffness.


It is important to exercise your neck

Begin moving your neck and doing the exercises immediately. The exercises will help you regain strength and mobility in your neck.

To begin with, do each exercise three to five times every hour. As the pain reduces and mobility in your neck improves, you can increase the number of times you do the exercises.

Make sure you are seated correctly, preferably in a chair with proper back support. Relax your shoulders and keep your body still. Complete the exercises as slowly and as thoroughly as you can.

It is okay if the exercises cause some light pain. Plan your exercises around times when your pain relievers are in full effect. If you begin to feel pain while doing the exercises, make the movements smaller and do them more slowly.

Exercise 1

  • Keep your head still while alternating moving your eyes upwards and downwards, and side to side
Illustration of the exercise

Exercise 2

Sit or stand with one arm hanging down by your side. Your elbow should be straight. Place your other arm on your head.

  • Push the palm of your extended arm towards the floor.
  • Bend your head towards the opposite shoulder until you feel a stretch in your neck. Hold the position for 30 seconds
  • Relax your neck.
  • Switch arms and repeat on the opposite side.
Illustration of the exercise

Exercise 3

  • Turn your head from side to side at a steady rate. Turn your head until you feel a stretch in your neck.
Illustration of the exercise

Exercise 4

You can sit or stand.

  • Slowly bend your head downwards then backwards.
Illustration of the exercise

Worth knowing

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