Best Exercises to Do at Work for Neck Pain

Need to take a break from work yet don’t have time for the gym? Relax. There are several simple exercises you can do right at your desk that help ease neck pain. All it takes is just 10 minutes, three times per day–and some willpower. Pick one stretch to do every hour on the hour or pick two or three you like best and repeat throughout the day.

Neck Circles

Gently roll your head in circles, being careful not to go too far in either direction to prevent straining muscles, ligaments, and joints. Do five circles in each direction, spending extra time with tender areas of tension, and make small increases in size with each circle. Inhale deeply between circles using deep cleansing breaths.

Shoulder Shrugs

Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears and then relax them down. Again, don’t go too far and make sure to stop if you feel pain in the neck or upper back. Breathe deeply between repetitions and aim for 10 to 15 times.

Upper Trapezius Neck Stretch

Sit upright at your desk with feet flat on floor, shoulder-width apart. To stretch the left side of your neck, begin by sitting on your left hand, then pull your head straight over to the right with your hand so that your right ear goes toward your right shoulder. Hold for five slow breaths. Repeat three times then stretch the other direction.

Head Tilt

Begin by looking straight ahead and then drop your head forward as though you were trying to touch your chin to your chest–do not strain. Next, tilt your head to the right without moving your shoulders forward or backward (you should feel a stretch on the left side of your neck). Hold for five deep belly breaths, then repeat on the other side.


Stand up at your desk and reach both arms above your head, clasping your hands together and gently dropping your chin to your chest before raising your chin up again. Then, looking straight ahead, reach your hands high above your head while still clasping hands. Breathe deeply several times. This is a great stretch for the entire back, sides of neck, and shoulders.

Desk Pushups

These are not as easy as they sound so don’t try them if you have shoulder pain or feel any discomfort in the neck. Simply kneel at your desk with palms flat on edge of the desk about shoulder-width apart. Gently press down into desk until arms are extended then slowly lower yourself by bending elbows until upper body is one inch from desk. Then push back up while extending arms fully. Repeat 10 to 12 times.

Side Stretch

Stand or sit at your desk with arms comfortably at your sides. Bend your body toward the right while grasping your right elbow in your left hand and gently pulling your arm across your waistline without twisting your upper body. Lean forward over your right leg and then repeat on other side. Breathe deeply several times before releasing.

Find more ways to incorporate some neck exercises into your day without leaving your desk! Remember, any amount is better than nothing so aim for 10 minutes of activity or stretches throughout the day and hopefully those annoying neck pains will disappear altogether. If not give Greater Maryland Pain M

anagement a call–we love helping patients get rid of pain fast!