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4 neck exercises to reduce neck pain, headaches and fatigue after a concussion

Updated: Jan 10

Many people experience neck pain after they sustain a concussion or whiplash. My experience was that a lot of therapists often forget the neck when we tell them about our concussion symptoms. But the neck can play a huge role in your recovery.

As I sustained a concussion and a whiplash, my neck was a big struggle for me. I tried many things to reduce my neck pain, and in this post, I want to share four different stretches that really helped me to reduce my fatigue, headaches and neck pain.

neck pain after a concussion

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A whiplash can cause a concussion and the other way around

At first, I didn’t know I’d sustained a concussion as I didn’t hit my head. I bumped into another scooter and sustained a whiplash. The force that caused the whiplash is enough to cause a concussion too. And if you’ve hit your head, there is also a chance that your neck is also affected.

A lot of people struggle with both symptoms, which makes diagnosing the cause of the neck pain (and treating it) a complex thing.

They say if you’re struggling with neck pain and other concussion symptoms three months or more after your injury, you likely have post-concussion syndrome.

In this post, I will share four neck exercises that really helped me to reduce my neck pain, headaches and fatigue.

Reduce neck pain, headaches and fatigue after a concussion

Concussion neck Exercise 1: Up and Down Tilt

Bring your chin down to your chest until you feel the stretch in the back of your neck.

Hold it for 15-30 seconds.

Tilt your head backwards until you feel the stretch in the front of your neck.

Hold it for 15-30 seconds.

concussion and neck pain

trauma after a concussion

Concussion neck exercise 2: Sideways Tilt

Bring your ear to your shoulder until you feel the stretch on the opposite side of your neck.

Hold it there for 15-30 seconds. Then, while keeping your ear down, tilt your head up and down.

Move through this range of motion for 30 seconds.

The feeling of the stretch should move in your neck opposite to the way your head is moving.

For example, if your head is tilted to the right and down, you should feel the stretch on the left and to the back.

Do this on both sides.

neck pain after a concussion

Concussion neck exercise 3: Shoulder Roll

With your head in a neutral position, roll your shoulders forward 6 times.

Then roll them backwards 6 times.

concussion neck

Concussion Neck Exercise 4: Chin Tuck

Put your head and shoulders in a neutral position.

Tilt your head back just a little bit, so the gaze of your eyes is a little bit higher than normal. Trying to keep your gaze up, tuck your chin as if you were trying to give yourself double chins, do not drop or raise your jaw.

Do three sets of 10 of this exercise.

Repeat all the stretches 2-3 times per session.

Do 2-3 sessions per day.

concussion and neck pain

Interval training to reduce symptoms and neck pain after a concussion

Besides the neck stretches, interval training played a huge role in my recovery. It helped me reduce my fatigue, headaches, improve my sleep, reduce my anxiety and get more energy.

Interval training is short bursts of exercise alternated with recovery periods. I learned everything about this at the concussion clinic in Utah: Cognitive FX where I went in 2019, it changed my life.

To make it more accessible, I created a 2-week interval/exercise course where I (and concussion expert Dr. Jessica Klain) teach you everything about starting the intervals in the most beneficial way (using specific breathing exercises, reaching the perfect heartrate, etc.) from home.

Around 500+ people started and 70% reported a positive change in their symptoms. I’m so happy for them. Click here to read more reviews or get more information about the interval course.

Importance of the neck and aerobic exercises in concussion recovery

Last but not least, I would love to share a video from Rob Wallis (Concussion Expert) about aerobic exercise and the neck. This video is one of the videos that’s available within The Concussion Community).

Who is Rob Wallis?

Rob graduated from Sydney University (Cumberland College) in 1985, working most of his physiotherapy life in the private domain treating sports and spinal problems.

In 1997, Rob was awarded the APA Sports Title in recognition for his experience in the Sports Physiotherapy realm. With a personal and professional interest in complex conditions, such as Headaches, Migraines and Concussions, Rob has focused the past 15 years to further study and research, offering a specialised approach for such conditions.

He has opened three centers across Sydney to help those suffering the debilitating effects of Concussion, Headache and Migraine.

In the video below, Rob Wallis talks about:
  1. Why is the neck important in Concussion, especially in relationship to headaches, dizziness and balance?

  2. What neck exercises can be helpful in my recovery?

  3. Review of the importance of aerobic exercise in Concussion recovery.

  4. How to determine your ideal Heart rate for exercise.


Rob Wallis

B App Sc (Phys) M.A.P.A.

Watson Headache Certified Practitioner

Complete Concussion Management (CCMI) Registered Practitioner

APA Titled Sport & Exercise Physiotherapist

I hope the four neck stretches, interval training and/or the video from Rob Wallis about aerobic exercises will help you reduce your neck pain and other concussion symptoms.

If you still have any questions after reading this post, please let me know, you can always send me a message on Instagram.

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neck pain after a concussion

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