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Neck & Back Pain


How To Get Back in Shape with Neck & Back Pain
How To Get Back In Shape
with Neck & Back Pain

Don't let neck & back pain keep you from  getting back in shape. To the contrary, get back in shape and watch your neck & back pain melt away.

Consistent, appropriate exercises can be your key to reducing neck & back pain, allowing you to break the pain cycle and get back in shape. The right combination of exercises to control your pain means using the concept of specificity of exercise.

When you have neck & back pain, choosing your own personal exercise program requires that you specifically address your individual weaknesses.

Things to consider include:                              

Muscle Imbalances - weakness, tightness, spasms or guarding 

  • Joint Dysfunction and Joint Range of Motion 
  • Inflammation and Swelling 
  • Nerve Mobility or Nerve Irritation 
  • Disc Disease or Disc Health 
  • Relaxation and Release of Abnormal Tension 
  • Breathing Patterns 
  • Your Outlook 


Choosing Your Neck & Back Pain Exercises 

  • First, know that all neck & back pain is not alike. If you don't have a diagnosis yet, see your doctor. 
  • Next, learn what helps your neck & back feel better, move better and get stronger. A visit with a physical therapist is a great way to start to learn a specific set of exercises designed specifically for you.  Find a physical therapist to help you get started.  Your physical therapist will also help you with your posture and alignment.  
  • If you have tried physical therapy without success, see our section on Specialized Techniques to see if there are other treatment techniques that may benefit you. Other practitioners such as chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists can also help with neck & back pain, but their expertise is not in exercise. Ultimately you will need a specific exercise program that works for you. 
  • If you are ready to begin to get your neck & back (and your body) back in shape, the following information will help you find an exercise path that is best for you.   

Neck & Back Pain Exercises

To break your neck & back pain cycle, begin with the types of exercises that help you feel and become aware of abnormal patterns of movement or chronic tension. These type of exercises are called body awareness exercises or mind-body exercises. 

Most of us are unaware of our chronic holding tension patterns.  Body awareness or mind-body exercises help us to sense our abnormal tension and release them mentally or with gentle movements.

  • Somatics 

  Somatics: Reawakening The Mind's Control Of Movement, Flexibility, And Health


"Reawakening the mind's control of movement, flexibility, and health"


Somatics, by Thomas Hanna

Somatics is a type of exercise based on an internal sensory-motor approach, meaning you learn to sense your exercise movements and  reduce abnormal holding and movement patterns.

These exercises are based on the studies of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais.  They help you turn off your "auto pilot" and perform your movements consciously.  This book includes exercises for your back, stomach, trunk rotators, hips & legs, neck & shoulders as well as breathing and walking.

** Highly Recommended to help you get back in shape with body awareness exercise if you have neck & back pain. 

  •  Mind-Body Exercises 

Relax Your Neck, Liberate Your Shoulders: The Ultimate Exercise Program for Tension Relief 

Relax your Neck, Liberate your Shoulders

 Pelvic Power: Mind/Body Exercises for Strength, Flexibility, Posture, and Balance for Men and Women

  Pelvic Power

Relax your Neck, Liberate your Shoulders

Pelvic Power, by Eric Franklin

We include these two books by Eric Franklin because together, they cover your full spine. Franklin uses visualization to help you become aware of your movements and holding patterns thru mind-body exercises.

Franklin demonstrates an excellent understanding of both Western Science and Eastern knowledge bases which makes his exercises so effective.

These exercises address different layers of muscles, the movement of joints, the gliding filaments of muscles, the interconnectedness of the body, asymmetries, energy flow, breathing, and even your internal organs.

If you like to visualize, you will love these books.

** Highly Recommended to help you get back in shape if you have neck & back pain (or any other problems due to improper alignment).

See more on body awareness exercises and other self treatment books.

  • Strengthening Exercises - Muscle weakness can contribute to neck & back pain.  When you have a painful condition, strengthening exercises should be done slowly and carefully to avoid aggravating your pain.  As you strengthen your muscles, your neck & back joints are better protected.  

Generally, you want to consider strengthening the following muscles if you have back pain:

 Opposite Arm and Leg Raise

Back Strengthening Exercises

  • Gluteals or buttocks muscles 


  • Back Extensors and Multifidi 


  • Abdominals & Pelvic Floor Muscles 


  • Quadriceps - thigh muscles 










If you have neck pain, gentle isometric exercise can strengthen your major neck muscles to support your head on your spine. 

  • To try a neck isometric exercise, place the finger tips of both hands against your forehead.  Gently press your forehead into your fingers without letting your head move.  Feel the muscles in the front of your neck contract.  Hold gently for a few seconds and then slowly release. 
  • Next place your hands behind your head and gently press your head back into your hands. Feel the muscles in the back of your neck contract. 

Types of exercises that can help you get back in shape and are less likely to aggravate your neck & back pain include:

For Lower Back pain, see different self-treatment exercises and techniques.  Also, our section on Spinal Decompression may be very helpful, depending on your type of back pain.  Ask your healthcare practitioner before attempting anything that you see on this site. 


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