The exercises in Phase 1 are designed to ease your way into your training. Your neck injury should not be further provoked or irritated, but it is important to keep your neck in motion. If you do not keep your neck moving and instead stay still for long periods of time, your neck will become more rigid, with the risk of prolonging your rehabilitation. The exercises aim at increasing the mobility of your neck.
In this phase, you'll have simple exercises for each individual part of your neck that focus on gentle stimulation of the moving parts of your neck. Exercises are therefore typically performed with a minimal load on your muscles. It is normal to experience a little soreness or pain in the neck during and after the exercises, but the pain should not increase from day to day.
Continue performing activities that do not provoke or aggravate your neck pain. It is also fine to perform activities that cause light pain, as long as the pain returns to the level it was at prior to the activity within 24 hours. If activities in your work or spare time greatly aggravate your neck pain, we recommend that you reduce these activities by at least 50%.
You should avoid
Heavy lifting, sleeping on your stomach, long periods of sitting in front of a computer, and other activities that strain your neck. Also, your neck must not be too inactive as this may aggravate the pain and limit functionality. You should, therefore, avoid stagnant positions, both while sitting and standing. If, for example, you have a relatively sedentary job, be sure to take small breaks throughout the day, where you can stand and move a bit.
Tips to keep you active
An active life helps to prevent and reduce any muscle/joint pain - including neck pain. In phase 1 you can usually walk without problems. Biking, however, can cause problems, especially if you sit leaning forwards and arch your neck backwards to see the road. Similarly, swimming may cause problems if you need to arch your neck to breathe. Spinning and water aerobics are often good alternatives. To avoid locking your neck in the same position for a long time, switch between sitting, standing, and walking.