Exercises to Reduce Neck Tension

Neck tension is a common complaint among adults of all ages; though a stiff neck can result from exercise, overuse or simply sleeping in the wrong position, many people have a tendency to carry stress in their neck and shoulders, leaving them with a tense neck on an almost daily basis. Basic exercises that stretch and relax the neck and surrounding muscles can provide immediate relief and they can be performed virtually anywhere. However, if your neck pain is sudden, severe or the result of an injury, see a doctor before trying to alleviate the problem with home remedies.

Gentle exercises can relieve neck tension.


Inhale and bring your shoulders up to your neck as high as possible as though shrugging; hold for 10 counts. Exhale as you relax your shoulders back down and repeat 10 times.


Inhale then exhale as you slowly lower your chin down to your chest until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your neck. Take a few deep breaths before raising your head as you breathe in; repeat 10 times.

Lateral Flexion

Inhale then exhale as you slowly lower your left ear to your left shoulder as far as it will go; you should feel a gentle stretch in the top of your right shoulder and right side of your neck; be sure to bring your head to your shoulders rather than raising the shoulders to the head. Enjoy a few slow, deep breaths and raise your head back up on an inhale; repeat on the other side for a total of five to 10 times per side. You can intensify this stretch by very gently pulling your head farther down to your shoulder using the hand on the same side your head is moving toward.

Neck Roll

Inhale then exhale as you slowly lower your chin to your chest; take another breath and slowly roll your chin up to your left shoulder on an exhale; inhale again and roll your chin across your chest and up to your right shoulder as you exhale; repeat 10 times.

Shoulder Roll

Inhale and raise your shoulders up to your ears, moving them back and down then forward and up in a continuous circular motion as you exhale; keep moving for 10 counts then move your shoulders in the opposite direction for 10 counts.

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