7 Neck Stretches You Can Do At Your Desk

Neck Stretches

Sitting at a desk all day can make your neck and upper back muscles become tight or even painful. Here are a few neck stretches you can do for some relief.

Did you know that Americans spend an average of ten hours sitting daily? However, if you have a desk job, you may be sitting much more than this. 

Unfortunately, sitting down for extended periods can lead to muscle aches and degeneration. Mobility exercises can help combat this issue, and you don’t even have to leave your desk to practice them. This post will focus on neck stretches since this is an area where office workers tend to feel pain.

If you’re dealing with a stiff neck, follow along with this article! We’ll cover some of the best neck stretches that can improve posture and reduce neck pain.

Start with Proper Posture

Before you start your seated stretches, you’ll want to ensure you have good posture. Sit tall and imagine that you’re a puppet with a string attached to the top of your head. Someone is pulling that string, stretching your neck.

Now, you’re ready to get started!

Stretch # 1: Range of Motion

Some days, your neck may feel stiffer, especially if you’ve been sitting with poor posture or spent extra long hours on the computer. So, this first stretch will help you get into tune with your body and see how your neck is feeling today. It also increases blood flow, which prepares you for the following desk stretches.

How to Do It

Using gentle movements, slowly move your head in a series of motions:

  • Left to right
  • Right to left
  • Up and down

Continue these movements for at least 30 seconds, remembering to keep it light. Don’t force a deep stretch, especially if you feel pain or stiffness. Instead, please take note of the tight areas so you can work on loosening them in the following exercises. 

Stretch #2: Side Bends

Now that you’re warmed up and have the blood flowing through your neck, you can move on to side bending. This exercise stretches the muscles on the sides of the neck and upper trapezius, which commonly causes referred pain in the neck.

How to Do It

Place your right hand on your lap while wrapping your left hand around the top of your head. Your fingertips should be on your right ear. Now, pull your head toward your left shoulder until you feel the stretch. 

Hold this position for about 30 seconds before gently releasing it. Then, repeat it on the other side. 

Stretch #3: Side Bend Rotation

This exercise is similar to the previous one but stretches the muscles behind the neck and head. You may feel these especially tight because they stiffen when we sit with poor posture. So remember to be gentle. 

How to Do It 

Assume the position of stretch #2. Tilt your head, but when pulling your head towards your shoulder, turn your nose downwards, towards your armpit. 

Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds, release it, and repeat it on the other side. 

Stretch #4: Collarbone Side Bends

This stretch is another side bend, but this time it will focus on loosening the muscles that attach to the collarbone. These large muscles tighten as you look down at your phone or other handheld devices.

How to Do It

Put both of your hands on the middle of your collarbone. They should rest directly under your throat. While applying gentle pressure, tilt your head until your left ear is toward your left shoulder. 

Hold this position for at least 30 seconds before releasing slowly. Then, repeat on the other side.

Stretch #5: Side Bend Extensions

This is our last side bend of the day! It focuses on your muscles that connect to the collarbone and jawbone. If you struggle with jaw pain due to posture, these can be a big help. 

How to Do It

Get into the position of the previous stretch, placing both hands under your throat. Next, tilt your head toward your shoulder. You should feel the stretch along the opposite side of your neck. 

Now, rotate your head so that you are looking at the ceiling. Maintain the position for 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side. 

Stretch #6: Shoulder Protraction

You may wonder what a shoulder stretch is doing in this list of neck stretches, but the truth is that tight shoulders can cause pain in your neck. 

The muscles between your shoulder blades may feel extra tight after sitting in a chair all day while using the computer. This stretch will alleviate some of that tension. 

How to Do It

Place your hands together and interlock your fingers. Then, extend your arms forward, away from your body. Your arms should remain parallel with the floor and at shoulder height.

You should feel a slight pull right between the shoulder blades. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Stretch #7: Upper Neck Spiral

If you use a laptop several hours a day, you likely hunch in your chair. Hunched posture causes stiffness in several muscles. Try this stretch to reduce some of that tension.

How to Do It

Reach across your body with your left arm. Then, hold the upper part of your left arm with your right hand. 

Pull your left arm toward you until you feel the stretch in your shoulder blade. Now, rotate your head downwards toward your armpit. 

After holding it for 30 seconds, release the stretch. Repeat on the other side.

Incorporate These Neck Stretches into Your Work Routine

Hopefully, you performed these neck stretches as you followed along. If so, you’re probably feeling relief and less tension in your upper body. 

If you want to stop neck pain in its tracks, make these stretches part of your daily routine! But, if you still need a little bit of help to alleviate the tension you feel, contact us at Atlanta Mobile Massage and Wellness. We can help you and your whole team feel your best!

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