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Five Exercises to Relieve Neck Pain

Sep 1, 2022

By Emily Saleski, MS, LAT, ATC

From exercising to painful office injuries, neck pain can be easy to develop and difficult to relieve. Although rest, ice, heat pads, and massages may help relieve minor pains and aches, recent studies have found that some simple strength training exercises can do wonders for relieving neck pain. Neck injuries can result from trauma, muscle straining, or poor posture. In addition, repetitive strain injuries from computer work have become increasingly common. In most cases, these kinds of strain injuries originate from the trapezius muscle, the large muscle extending from the back of the head to the upper back. Try these five exercises (no equipment needed!) to strengthen your trapezius and reduce your desk job neck pain.

Shoulder Shrugs

  1. Let your arms hang at your sides.
  2. Keep your neck straight and your eyes looking straight ahead.
  3. Slowly raise your shoulders towards your ears and lower them again.
  4. Repeat.

Wall Angels

  1. Stand with your back against a wall with arms raised to 90 degrees and elbows bent.
  2. While making contact with your head, wrists, elbows, and shoulders, slide your arms up the wall and touch your fingertips.
  3. Then slide your arms back down toward your sides.
  4. Repeat.

Upright row

  1. Stand with your arms in front of your body, hands on your legs.
  2. Bend your elbows
  3. Raise your hands in a straight formation. Keep your elbows close to your body until they reach the middle of your chest. Elbows should be pointing up and out.
  4. Gently lower
  5. Repeat.

Athletic Trainer showing how to perform scapular squeeze exercise..

Scapular Squeeze

  1. Sit or stand with good posture.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 2-3 seconds.
  3. Relax and repeat.

Lateral Neck Stretch

  1. Sit with good posture.
  2. Bend your head to the left side
  3. Reach your left hand on your head and apply a slight overpressure.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

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Try these exercises at home, at work, or at the gym. Remember that muscle soreness is normal for the first two weeks of exercising. If any of these exercises feel uncomfortable, skip them, and seek advice from a sports medicine expert at one of our many Foothills Rehab centers across the valley.

Emily Saleski

by Emily Saleski
MS, LAT, ATC

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