Skip Nav

4 Desk Stretches to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Tension

Sitting at a desk for hours on end, staring at your computer screen, and scrunching your shoulders as you type can create a stiff neck and tense shoulders, or even a headache. Take a break and do these four stretches at your desk to offer some stress relief.

Behind the Back Neck Stretch: offers a deep stretch in the sides of your neck

Source: POPSUGAR Studios
  • Sitting on the edge of a sturdy chair, reach both hands behind your pelvis, and hold onto your left wrist with your right hand. Use your right hand to gently straighten your left arm and pull it away from you slightly. To increase the stretch in your neck, slowly lower your right ear toward your shoulder.
  • Stay here for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

Seated Clasping Neck Stretch: stretches the upper back and neck

Source: POPSUGAR Studios
  • Clasp your hands and bring both palms to the back of your head. Sitting with a tall spine, ground your hips firmly into your seat. Begin to gently press your hands toward your thighs, tucking your chin into your chest. As you press down, use your hands to gently pull your head away from your shoulders. This will intensify the stretch even more.
  • Hold here for at least 30 seconds, and then slowly lift your head up and release your hands.

Reverse Arch Stretch: opens the chest, shoulders, and front of your neck

Source: Louisa Larson Photography

  • Sit on the very edge of your chair. Reach your hands behind you and hold on to the back of the chair. Press your chest forward, arching your spine. If it feels comfortable, let your head fall back slightly to open through the front of the neck.
  • Continue to breathe, feeling the front of your body open up as you extend backward. Hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as you want. Then slowly lift your head up, straighten your spine, and release hold of the chair.

Tricep and Shoulder Stretch: targets the shoulders and triceps

Source: Shutterstock
  • Sitting in your chair, bend your left elbow, bringing it behind your back with your palm facing outward. Bring your fingertips toward the middle of your upper back, as close to your neck as possible. Raise your right arm above your head, bend your elbow, and lower your hand behind your head. Try to touch your fingers together, and eventually clasp your hands. If your hands don't touch, it's OK because you're still stretching your left shoulder and right triceps.
  • Keep your spine long by drawing your ribs and belly button in. Press the back of your head gently against your right arm. After holding for at least 30 seconds, slowly release your arms. Shake them out before doing the second side.

Still hurting? Here are some more easy ways to relieve your stiff neck at work.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
Latest Health & Fitness