Stretching and strengthening the muscles in the front, rear and sides of your neck will help keep your neck in proper alignment. Most people tend to spend a large portion of their day with their necks extended forward to better see a computer screen, TV or the road. Doing daily corrective exercises and stretching will train your neck to get back into proper alignment and give the muscles the strength to hold it there.
There are isometric exercises you can do easily to strengthen the front, rear and sides of the neck. Sit up straight and look ahead. Keep your head level so your chin is parallel to the floor. Put your palms against your forehead and press your head against your palms. Keep your chin lifted. Resist the pressure with your hands so your neck stays stationary. Next, place your palms behind your head. Push back against your hands, still not allowing your chin to tilt up or down. Then, place your left hand against the left side of your head above your ear. Push left with your head and push back right with your hand. Do the other side. Hold each for 5 seconds. Repeat three times each.
There are two good exercises you can do with weights to strengthen your neck muscles. One is done with a cable machine. Sit on an exercise bench in front of a machine with a neck harness attached to the middle pulley position. Sit with your back to the machine. Put the neck harness on. Tilt your chin down and flex your neck, pulling the weight. Another exercise is done lying on a bench holding a plate against your forehead. Lie so your neck is hanging off the edge of the bench. Tilt your head back and look up. This is your starting position. Lift your chin with the plate toward your chest. Return to the start position. Do 10 reps of each exercise and work up to three sets of 10.
When muscles are tight, they pull out of position. Stretching your neck daily will help them get back to their proper length and relieve stress. Lean your head to your right side and place your right palm on your ear. Do not pull down on your neck. Instead, allow the weight of your hand to help stretch your neck. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Do the other side the same way. Allow your chin to tilt straight forward to your chest. Place your hands on the back of your head and allow the weight of your hands to stretch your rear neck muscles. Next, tilt your head all the way back and gently allow the front of your neck muscles to stretch.