11 Stretches Experts Recommend For Neck Pain Relief

Say goodbye to that pesky tension.

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Your neck can get stiff and achy from hunching over your phone, sitting at a desk, or sleeping in a funky position. Regardless, tension in the trunk that holds your head up all day isn’t fun — which is why these expert-approved stretches for neck pain are a godsend.

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Chin Tilt

For tension in the side of your neck, try physical therapist Dr. Helen Goldstein’s gentle move:

1. Stand straight. Clasp hands behind back & puff chest.

2. Tilt head towards right shoulder, lifting chin to ceiling. Hold for 20.

3. Return to middle. Repeat on other side.

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Shoulder Rolls

These open your chest and soothe neck pain, according to trainer Amber Kivett.

1. Sit or stand straight.

2. Begin rolling shoulders forward.

3. Roll back to starting position.

4. Repeat until your muscles feel looser.

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Child’s Pose + Neck Roll

Pilates pro Jennifer McCamish says this’ll help lengthen the back of your neck.

1. From hands and knees, sit hips back on heels, forehead on mat.

2. Clasp hands behind head & pull in elbows.

3. Tuck chin & gently pull head forward.

4. Roll for 5 breaths.

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Forward Hang

Yoga instructor Anne E. Appleby loves this stretch for releasing neck tension.

1. Lean forward and let your head hang.

2. Gently try to touch the floor, letting the weight of your arms release. Bend knees if needed.

3. Take deep breaths.

4. Gently rock side to side.

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Wall Stretch

Appleby recommends this for lengthening the neck muscles.

1. Places hands on a wall wider than shoulders.

2. Walk back from the wall and let your head hang between your arms.

3. Take 8 deep breaths.

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Neck Bends

This stretch is yoga teacher Katrina Love Senn’s go-to.

1. Take a deep breath.

2. Exhale & drop your right ear to right shoulder.

3. Gently press right hand to left ear to increase stretch.

4. Hold. Return to center.

5. Gently roll head in circles.

6. Repeat on left.

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Seated Stretch

Physical therapist Lara Heimann’s sequence:

1. While seated, press shoulder blades into the chair.

2. Grab bottom of seat & lightly lift.

3. Lower chin to chest.

4. Hold 5-10 breaths. Lift head.

5. Release each ear to each shoulder.

6. Rest head on back of chair.

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To ease neck pain, yoga teacher Brett Larkin recommends doing this stretch throughout the day.

1. Start in quadruped position.

2. Exhale, tuck tailbone, arch back towards ceiling. Hold.

3. Inhale & lift tailbone, roll shoulders back, gaze up.

4. Repeat for a few minutes.

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Cow Face Shoulder Stretch

Break up knots and restore posture with this move from trainer David Sautter:

1. Reach left arm behind back.

2. Grab left wrist with right hand & pull to side, arms forming triangle.

3. Bend head to right. Hold 30 sec.

4. Repeat on other side.

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Gentle Stretch

Yoga instructor Ximena Yáñez’s go to:

1. Sit in chair. Inhale & draw shoulders towards ears.

2. Exhale. Bring shoulders down & back.

3. Engage core.

4. With shoulders down, send chin to chest.

5. Inhale & slowly bend neck backward. Look up.

6. Repeat 20 times.

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Head Nods

An easy stretch for neck pain from trainer Jack Craig:

1. Bring chin to chest. Hold.

2. Roll head as far back as it will go. Hold.

3. Repeat, nodding head back & forth for 30 sec.

4. Turn head to left. Hold. Turn head to right. Hold.

5. Turn back & forth for 30 sec.

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