Relieving Neck and Shoulder Tension

Neck and shoulder muscles can bring a great deal of tension. This tension is a chronic issue for many people, triggering discomfort and restricted motion in the impacted areas.

How to Relieve Neck & Shoulder Tension?

Certain steps can decrease neck and shoulder stress and possibly remove the underlying cause. Heat, extending, stress management strategies, posture and ergonomic training can help in reducing neck and shoulder muscle tension. In many cases, medical intervention might be needed.

Heat and Extending

Heat used to tight muscles increases blood flow to the area, promoting relaxation. Heat can be applied in different methods, such as a hot shower, heating pad, microwavable heat pack or hot-water bottle. In general, heat should be obtained 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Heat followed by gentle stretching will temporarily decrease tension in the neck and shoulder muscles. Usually, these muscles can be stretched by tipping your head to the side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder opposite the tense muscles. Stretches are normally held for 20 to 30 seconds and repeated 2 or 3 times. Stretches are typically done numerous times throughout the day. Speak with a healthcare expert for particular stretches to reduce your muscle tension.

Posture and Ergonomics

Many individuals invest much of the day sitting in front of a computer or bent over a desk. These positions increase risk for neck and shoulder muscle stress. Proper posture and ergonomics– lining up the body with equipment to minimize strain on the body– may decrease muscle stress in these areas. Although workstations and home computer areas differ, general concepts can be used to enhance posture and ergonomics. A small, rolled towel placed behind the lower back or lumbar support assists you sit up directly. The computer screen should be aligned directly in front of you, simply listed below eye level. Shoulders ought to be relaxed. Do not stoop forward as this increases muscle tension. With your elbows bent to approximately 90 degrees, your keyboard should be at a height that enables your wrists to continue to be straight– without resting on a surface– as you type. Hips and knees must be bent to around 90 degrees with your feet resting flat on the floor or a footstool.

sore neck

A man is rubbing his sore neck.

Lower Stress

Stress can cause stress in your neck and shoulder muscles. According to a research study released in October 2012 in the journal “Physical Therapy,” psychologically challenging jobs can increase stress in the trapezius muscles– those that run along the top of your shoulders and back of your neck. Stress decrease techniques might reduce stress in these muscles. Techniques might include deep breathing, assisted images, hearing relaxing music or taking a short break to permit your mind and muscles to relax. Efficient stress management strategies differ by person. Try out different techniques to determine which strategies work best for you. Additional stress management guideline might be offered by a psychologist or counselor.

Medical Intervention

Neck and shoulder muscle tension might interfere with your everyday activities due to pain or minimal movement. A physical therapist can supply added interventions– such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, dry needling, deep tissue massage and range of movement exercises– to assist reduce this stress. The therapist may likewise have the ability to help determine the underlying cause of the tension. In severe cases, a doctor may inject pain-relieving medication straight into the muscle.

Safety measures

See your doctor if your neck and shoulder tension does not enhance, disrupts your day-to-day activities or suddenly worsens. Call your doctor right away if you experience numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms or hands.


Many people handle neck and shoulder tension. Now you understand easy techniques to assist eliminate and minimize neck and shoulder tension and feel more relaxed throughout your day.



Updated: August 15, 2016 — 5:27 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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