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Deep Neck Flexor Exercises

Neck pain can result from a range of issues. Injury, incorrect posture and muscle imbalances are usually the primary sources of this pain. If you want to know more about deep neck exercises and strengthening exercises, and why they’re important, this guide is perfect for you.

What is a deep neck flexor?

The deep neck flexor muscles sit deep in the front of the neck, behind the trachea (windpipe). Because of their close proximity to the vertebrae (spine) and their short length, they have an important role in providing stability to the neck.

Why should I do deep neck flexor exercises?

People with a history of neck or upper back injury, such as whiplash, can show great improvement in pain and function if they strengthen these muscles. Those with postural neck pain often have weakness in these muscles and overuse the muscles on the sides of the neck and on the top of the shoulders. These people will also have considerable improvement in pain by strengthening deep neck flexors.

Switching on your deep neck flexors

  • Lie on your back with knees comfortably bent. Use a small rolled towel under the head if you feel uncomfortable when lying flat.
    • Lift your head off the towel and feel the muscles on the front of the neck. These are NOT the deep neck flexor muscles – these muscles often overwork to try to help with stability, they are not designed for this purpose.
    •  Now perform a small nodding movement, as if to look towards your toes. Don’t strain to do this. Don’t lift your head up. You should not feel the muscles on the front of the neck moving, but rather you should feel the muscles deep behind them tightening.
    • Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

If you’d like to some help strengthening your deep neck flexors, and improving your neck pain, or the physio services we offer, feel free to contact our professional and friendly team at Proactive Physiotherapy on (07) 4053 6222.


Proactive Physiotherapy is open for face-to-face visits and group exercise classes.

Your safety is our top priority. We have developed a protocol to ensure that all government recommendations including physical distancing and cleaning are adhered to. We have COVID-safe cleaning procedures in place, we are vetting everyone who comes into the clinic for any symptoms of illness, and we are maintaining social distancing where it is appropriate and possible.

To help minimise any risks, please do not come into the clinic unless you are a patient, parent of a minor who is a patient, or translator or carer for a patient attending the clinic. If you do not wish to come into the clinic, but still require some assistance, please call 40840602 to organise a telehealth appointment.

We look forward to assisting our clients, old and new, in these unusual times and will temper our approach to community safety as the COVID situation fluctuates.

Thank you for your understanding.

Julie Faulks and the entire Proactive Physio team.