Stiff Neck? 3 Exercises to decrease pain.

We all complain of a stiff neck from staring at screens all day. The best way to reduce that stiffness is to move the neck through a full range of motion in the OPPOSITE direction. These 3 exercises give my patients immediate results with better movement and decreased pain.

3 exercises to fix a stiff neck

  • Neck Retraction
  • Neck Retraction With Side Bend
  • Quadruped Neck Extension

Decrease Stiffness with Neck Retractions

Good for: stiffness and pain with movement

  • Sit or stand comfortably
  • Perform a chin tuck like a spider is coming towards your face
  • The back of your neck should get longer, so don’t curl your chin towards your chest

This is a staple at improving neck range of motion and decreasing pain and stiffness with movement.

Perform 10 reps ever 2-3 hours as needed.

    Decreasing stiffness using Neck retractions with side bends

    Good for: neck stiffness and that “crick” in your neck

    • perform a chin tuck like #1
    • maintain the chin tuck as you touch your ear to one shoulder, then the other
    • You can use your right hand on your head to gently assist leaning to the right, and same for the left
    • perform 10 both directions, if you are using your hand to assist you can do all 10 on a side before switching

    The chin tuck allows you to get a more effective stretch as you tilt you head side to side.

    Improve neck motion with Quadruped Neck Extensions

    Good for: neck strength and range of motion

    • Rest on your hands and knees
    • Alternative position is rest on your elbows leaning over a counter
    • Perform the chin tuck like #1, then gently lift your head up towards the ceiling as high as you can
    • Gently return to the start position
    • Perform 2 sets of 15 reps

    This is a simple way to strengthen the muscles of the back of the neck as well as decrease the stiff feeling in the back of the neck.

    Ready to get rid of the stiffness forever? These range of motion exercises combined with neck and shoulder strengthening will do the trick.


    Three simple exercises you can do throughout the day. Ideally you take a break from your work and perform 1 exercise, or you can take a longer break and perform all 3.

    If you’d like a complete program that takes the guess work out of this and helps to prevent neck pain in the future, we have it here.