Pain Exercises

Pain Exercises

Neck pain relief

In addition to eating a balanced diet and taking controlled pain relief, exercise and stretching may help ease some types of pain. There are various exercises believed to help ease muscle and joint aches and pains, usually involving slow stretches to aid relaxation.

Research conducted by a variety of Australian Universities found that land- and water-based exercise also helped provide short-term pain relief for those with hip osteoarthritis pain.1

In addition, it has been observed that routine exercise could be beneficial alongside medical and pharmaceutical treatment for those with peripheral neuropathy (a group of conditions in which the peripheral nervous system is damaged).2

It is important to be very careful when participating in activities and exercises to help relieve pain, as some suggestions found on the internet have the potential to make conditions worse. Always consult your GP or a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

In general, exercises should be low-impact and should only be followed as far as they are comfortable. Here are some example exercises to help lower back and neck pain: 

Lower back pain exercises

NHS Live Well Exercises 

1. Bottom to heels stretch - kneel on all fours, with your knees directly under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Slowly move your bottom backwards, maintaining the natural curve in the spine. Hold the stretch for one deep breath and return to the starting position. Repeat.

Tips: Don't over-arch your back, keep your neck long, keep your shoulders back and don't lock your elbows.


2. Lie on your back and bend your knees up with your feet on the floor. Roll your knees slowly from side to side, taking a deep breath on either side and keeping your pelvis on the floor. 

Tips: Only move as far as is comfortable, keep your upper body relaxed and use a pillow under your head.

Neck pain exercises

NHS Live Well Exercises

3. While sitting straight with correct posture, tip your head forward slowly and in a controlled manner. Return to the start position and repeat.

4. While sitting straight with correct posture, look straight ahead and tip your head to one side slowly and in a controlled manner. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

5. While sitting straight with correct posture, turn your head to look as far as possible over one shoulder. Try not to let the head tilt as you turn and only move as far as is comfortable. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.



  1. Beumer L, Wong J, Warden SJ, Kemp JL, Foster P, Crossley KM. Effects of exercise and manual therapy on pain associated with hip osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2015 Nov 26. pii: bjsports-2015-095255. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095255.
  2. Li L, Hondzinski JM. Select exercise modalities may reverse movement dysfunction because of peripheral neuropathy. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2012 Jul;40(3):133-7. doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e31825f7483.

UK/DIF/15/0002d Date of preparation: January 2016