5 Stretches to Ease Neck Tightness

Do you often experience neck tightness from sitting at your desk for extended periods or using screens for a long time? It can be frustrating, leading to discomfort, headaches, and restricted movement. The good news is that there are ways to find relief. It's crucial to listen to your body, take it slow, and avoid any movements that cause pain.

We are all unique, so finding what works best for our bodies is important. Take breaks from sitting, maintain good posture, and incorporate regular stretching exercises. These practices can help reduce neck tightness and promote overall well-being..

Neck Tilts

Neck tilts are a simple yet effective stretch to release tension in the neck muscles. Follow these steps to perform neck tilts:

  • Begin by sitting or standing tall with your shoulders relaxed. 
  • Slowly tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder while keeping the other shoulder grounded. 
  • Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side. 
  • This stretch targets the muscles on the side of your neck.

Neck Rolls

Neck rolls help release muscle tension and improve mobility in the neck. Here's how to perform neck rolls correctly:

  • Begin by sitting or standing in a comfortable position.
  • Gently drop your chin toward your chest and slowly rotate your head in a clockwise direction.
  • Continue the circular motion, moving your head from side to side and taking it back to the starting position.
  • Repeat the rotation in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Perform 5 to 10 neck rolls in each direction, maintaining a slow and controlled movement.

Upper Trapezius Stretch

The upper trapezius muscle often becomes tight and contributes to neck discomfort. Stretching this muscle can help alleviate tightness. Follow these steps for the upper trapezius stretch:

  • Sit or stand with your back straight.
  • Gently tilt your head towards one side, bringing your ear closer to your shoulder.
  • Place your hand on the same side as the tilt behind your back, grasping the opposite side of the chair or gently holding onto your waist.
  • Use your other hand to gently pull your head further into the stretch, feeling a gentle pull in your upper trapezius muscle.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat the process.
  • Perform this stretch 3 to 5 times on each side.

Levator Scapulae Stretch

The levator scapulae muscles can contribute to neck tightness when they become tense. Stretching these muscles can help alleviate discomfort. Follow these steps for the levator scapulae stretch:

  • Sit or stand in an upright position.
  • Tilt your head slightly forward and rotate it towards the side you're stretching.
  • Place one hand on the same side as the tilt on the back of your head, gently pulling your head down and to the side.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
  • Perform this stretch 3 to 5 times on each side.

Shoulder Blade Squeezes

Shoulder blade squeezes are beneficial for releasing tension in the neck and shoulder area. Follow these steps to perform shoulder blade squeezes:

  • Sit or stand with your back straight.
  • Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together, imagining that you're trying to touch them.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, feeling the tension in your upper back and shoulder muscles.
  • Release and relax your shoulders.
  • Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times, focusing on the contraction and relaxation of the shoulder blades.


Taking care of your neck is essential for both relieving tension and promoting relaxation. Now that you know how to properly incorporate these five stretches into your daily routine, take some time every day to give your neck the service it needs. If you find that these simple exercises aren't enough, don't hesitate to reach out for supportive services from a qualified healthcare provider. Dr. Brent Ungar at Belden Village Chiropractic and Wellness Center is one such resource that can assist you if your neck needs more than just some daily stretching. 








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