Previously, in a randomized study, we showed that women with chronic neck pain were able to perform intensive training for neck and shoulder muscles and that the increase in strength was accompanied by a reduction in pain and disability. The changes were significantly greater in the training groups compared with controls. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether the controls would achieve similar results. Thus, 59 women in the control group initiated high-intensity strength training. Maximal isometric neck strength increased by 44% in both flexion and rotation and 27% in extension at the 2-year follow-up. Statistically and also clinically significant decreases in neck pain and disability indices occurred. Stretching and aerobic exercising during the first follow-up year produced only minor changes in both subjective and functional measures. Adding progressive strength training for the second year led to a significant improvement in neck strength and also to a considerable decrease in the pain and disability scores. Thus, to achieve effective rehabilitation in cases of chronic neck pain, a combination of strength training and stretching exercises are recommended.