Three Simple Neck Stretches to Relieve Neck Pain and Stress

Whether you sit at a desk all day, work for hours at a computer, and have experienced a past neck injury, you can benefit from these simple neck stretches! It will only take three to five minutes! So….you can’t use the “I don’t have the time” excuse. It’s also important to know that even though two of the three stretches don’t directly involve the neck (guess which ones), the muscles being stretched are attached to the neck itself!

Stretch 1: Neck Stretch

There are six ranges of motion of the neck. For best results, you should stretch your neck in all six ranges for 10-15 seconds, but if you are in a hurry, just stretch the ranges that are painful or tight! To begin, sit with good posture in your chair. Reach and hold the seat of the chair with your hands.

Neck Flexion (Chin to Chest) Slowly begin to lower you neck down by lower your chin down to your check and hold for 10-15 seconds.

Neck Extension (Lean your head back) Lower your head back as far as you can.

Right Lateral Flexion (Ear to Shoulder) – Lower your right ear towards your right shoulder.

Left Lateral Flexion (Ear to Shoulder) – Lower your left ear towards your left shoulder.

Right Rotation (Chin to Shoulder) – Slowly turn your head to the right. Your chin with be close to your right shoulder.

Left Rotation (Chin to Shoulder) – Slowly turn your head to the left. Your chin with be close to your left shoulder.

Stretch 2: Shoulder Shrugs

This particular stretch combines stretching with a common muscle relaxation technique called “Progressive Muscle Relaxation”. It’s really effective to relax the shoulders and neck!

Shrug your shoulders to your ears (as shown in the picture) and hold tightly for 2-3 seconds, still holding tightly rotate your shoulders back (you should feel a stretch in the pectoralis muscles or chest muscles) and then relax them down into normal position. Repeat for 10 repetitions for best results!

Stretch 3: Upper Back Stretch

This great stretch works on the neck and upper back muscles.

Stretch your arms out in front of you and rotate your hands until your palms face away from each other. You can put both of the back of your hand together or you can put your palms together, which ever is most comfortable. Then bend over at the upper back like you are diving off the diving board. Be sure and flex your head (chin to chest) at the same time!

Working every day to take a little stress out of your world…

To learn more about other good stretches to do at the office or home and the source of the images shown above, visit the website below located on

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23 Responses to “Three Simple Neck Stretches to Relieve Neck Pain and Stress”

  1. Sylvester Says:

    Very informative and helpful. I would even say good exercises to avoid pain and be used preventive. I look forward to more.

  2. tranquilitycs Says:

    I agree, Sylvester. Just curious though, are you saving I should edit the content to add that benefit?

  3. Sylvester Becker Says:

    Misty, I would write a blog post about that. The common behavior is you don’t edit a blog post. Most people read the first version when it comes out and then they never get the corrections. You either have a dialogue here in the comments, what only people read who are so interested that they read the comments, or you write a new blog post, mentioning the commenter, what encourages them more to respond, more dialogue. Than all your readers get the content. You really take blogging serious, right on!

  4. Nicole L. Says:

    Dr. Funk,
    Thank you so much for making this information readily available. I am a teacher, and frequently encounter stress. These simple stretches help after a long, stressful day. Please keep the information coming so that I can continue to ease my on the job stressors.

  5. Andrew Says:

    This is really helpful.

  6. santosh Says:

    iam having neckpain for 9 years also upper back

  7. santosh Says:

    i am having severe upper back and neckpain for 9 years .Please guide me.I cannot study and work.


  8. Spice Rack Says:

    These are good neck exercises. I like upper back stretch.

  9. steve voegele Says:

    I am working out of town. Have two herniated arthritic discs.{ third and fifth) Cannot sleep, and sometimes cannot work well. What can i do short of surgery to gain enough relief to sleep. Can exercise, theropy, or chiropractic help?

  10. Engineering student (girl) Says:

    can wryneck patients use this exercise after surgery of torticollis?

  11. pug Says:

    good i will do on a daily basis. What is your opinion in regards to chiropractors?

  12. Jonny Dixon Says:


  13. sryhema Says:

    its really helpful

  14. Kyla Says:

    what musles are eing used? in the neck stretch.?

  15. mark cordeiro Says:

    relieved the stress immediately but needs to be maintained daily to avoid further discomfort

  16. Sadia Says:

    oh my god, these worked instantaneously. Bless you for these

  17. cory Says:


  18. Angie Says:

    I was shown this on my Facebook because I pulled a muscle so bad that I have a headache, can’t turn my head at all to the left, and having trouble swallowing. I can’t do these exercises right now to the extent intended but I did them to the best of my ability. Seems these are good ones to prevent muscles being pulled. Also hoping that these will help my pain get better even trying these as best as I could right now. Thanks.

  19. FC Says:

    Wow! This is a reliever thanks

  20. JonnBoy42 Says:

    2012 now and this post still helps people! Thanks for the stretches!

  21. Muhilan Says:

    Very helpful. 3 days of stretching and my pain is gone

  22. Jennifer B Says:

    Wow! I just did these and they worked! My right neck and shoulder have been killing me for several days and I know it’s stress related. Stretch #2 is what helped the most but I did them all anyways. Thanks! I’m so glad I found your site.

  23. Vicki Says:

    Are there any stretches for the glutes and thighs after sitting in an uncomfortable office chair all day?

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