Neck and Mouth Exercises for Oral Cancer Survivors

If you are an oral cancer survivor like me, than you have probably undergone surgery and radiation which has left you with long term stiffness in your neck, mouth and tongue.

Here are the exercises I do to maintain elasticity, mobility, and promote blood flow in my neck and mouth. It helps with the long term effects of treatment for oral cancer.

View the video on YouTube. It’s 8-minutes and you can do the exercises with me. You will need a small spoon and vitamin E oil (or coconut oil, olive oil, petroleum jelly vaseline…).

1- Neck

  • Ear to Shoulder
  • Hold Shoulder turn away
  • Head back. Use your hand at the back of your head for support if needed.

    2-Jaw Stretch
    Open as wide as possible


    3-Tongue Massage

  • Push tongue against your cheeks and around lips.
  • Use fingers if they are clean and your nails are short. I like to do this in the shower.
  • (I forgot to mention in video) Stick your tongue out as far as possible and hold.

    4- Chin Tucks
    These are great to do just to realign your head on your spine and counter the forward hang of our heads from using our devices.


    5- Resistance Training

  • Outside mouth: Place hand under chin pushing up and open mouth
  • Inside Mouth: Use a tongue depressor or small spoon. Place on top of tongue and push up. Place on bottom of tongue and push down. Place on right side of tongue and push right. Place on left side of tongue and push left.

    6- External Self-Massage
    Rub vitamin E oil (or coconut oil, olive oil, petroleum jelly vaseline…) all over your cheeks and neck. In place of using my fingers and knuckles to massage my jaw line, I prefer the Gua Sha stone, or you can even use something similar like the curved end of a glass jar. Massage along your lower jaw and down your neck.

    If you are newly diagnosed with oral cancer, learn more here. Do not do these exercises right after surgery. Give yourself time to heal before starting to break down the scar adhesions and stimulate the tissue.

    Is your dentist educating patients about the signs and symptoms of oral cancer? Check out the Six-Step Screening patient Poster and Goody Bag Cards.

    If this video is helpful, please comment…and share with the oral cancer survivors in your life!

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