The Best Stretches to Alleviate Neck Pain

Learn how to perform these exercises anywhere. Start to alleviate neck pain and improve your mobility.
The Best Stretches to Alleviate Neck Pain

Last update: 02 January, 2019

Neck pain is the second most common reason why people visit physiotherapists, the first being back pain. Here we will discuss some easy stretches that will help you alleviate neck pain.

High stress

There are many causes for this ailment, but a combination of high levels of stress, a sedentary lifestyle, and bad sleeping and eating habits are the most common causes. Neck pain can even radiate down the back and shoulders, and in the worst cases, cause migraines.

Neck pain can radiate down the shoulders to the back.

Some other causes of neck pain are bad posture and sitting for too long. That’s why when we work for long periods of time in a bad posture, in front of the computer, we tend to suffer from this ailment.

However, there are some genetic factors and emotional difficulties, such as anxiety and depression, that also trigger this response in the body.

Fortunately, only a small percentage of visits to the doctor due to neck pain, are caused by injuries. Other serious causes of neck pain are herniated discs, arthrosis, and osteoporosis.

How can we prevent or alleviate neck pain?

There are numerous ways to alleviate neck pain, and also to prevent it. However, in severe cases, it’s always good to go to a doctor to get it checked. One of the healthiest practices for your neck is to exercise and eat well regularly. You should also seek to eliminate stress.

We need to eliminate bad posture through sitting or standing. If you work in front of the computer, it’s important to have the screen at eye level. For those of us who work sitting, an active break every 45 minutes is a good idea. It’s even more effective if we perform certain stretches during those breaks.

Avoid self-medicating

Although there are many over the counter painkillers out there, self-medication is not a good idea. Generally speaking, medication has a long list of contraindications and must be taken under medical supervision.


Stretching exercises are very helpful for preventing and alleviating neck pain, as well as back and shoulder pain. Doing these exercises is simple and can have great results. However, you must perform them calmly and without a rush.

Here are a few stretching exercises to help you alleviate neck pain. For even better results combine them with massages and doctor prescribed medication.

Neckroll stretch

You must perform this exercise while sitting down with your back straight and shoulders back. Move your head from one side to the other, stretching slowly the neck. Try to reach the maximum mobility you can handle without pain.

Another variation of this exercise is with a stool. Sit on a backless chair with your back straight, with one arm behind you, resting on your lower back. Tilt your head to the opposite side, stretching the neck for 10 seconds. Then repeat the exercise for the other side.

Shoulder rolls

This exercise is better when performed standing up, with your legs at about shoulder width apart. Put your arms down and relax them, with your hands touching your thighs.

This exercise consists of rolling your shoulders up to try to touch your face and holding them there for a few seconds. Then return the shoulders to the starting position.

Repeat this exercise 10 times, along with synchronized breathing. Breathe in when rolling the shoulders up and breathe out when rolling them down. Make sure that the only muscles engaged during this exercise are in the cervical spine region (neck area).

Chin to chest

As the name suggests, this exercise consists of pulling your chin to your chest. This is an exercise that you can do from your desk chair without a problem. Before starting, make sure you have a good posture.

woman rubbing her eyes at work thinking about the psychological aspect of weight loss

Then push your head forward and try to touch your chest with your chin and hold there for five seconds. Repeat this movement 10 times while resting for 2 to 3 seconds between repetitions.

Finally, it’s important to mention that if these exercises don’t alleviate your neck pain, then you should see a specialist. In any case, if your neck pain lasts for longer than one week, make sure you visit a doctor.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.