To help you relieve neck pain and be more comfortable when using a computer, there are some easy exercises you can do to stretch your neck muscles and relieve spinal tension. Read this article to learn the eight best neck exercises for computer-related tension.
These are the most common causes of neck pain in people that spend hours a day on their computers.
Twisted posture is common in people that turn away from their computers often, such as receptionists or secretaries. People that have multi-monitor setups often suffer from twisted neck posture too.
When you twist your neck one way or the other, it contorts your spine, causing tension on every vertebra. People who have twisted posture will often feel pain at the base of their neck on either side and may also experience shoulder pain and tension.
One of the most common culprits of computer-related neck pain is your monitor’s position. Your monitor should be set up so that the top third of the screen is at eye level. If the monitor is up too high, your neck has to crane to view it properly, forming an awkward curve to your spine.
It is less severe, but if your monitor is too low, this can also cause pain in your neck. People also refer to this problem as ‘text neck’ as people that look down at their phones a lot experience a similar problem.
Your vertebrae are all connected and your spine acts like one. So if your office or gaming chair doesn’t have any lumbar support at all, it could put tension on your neck because of the unnatural position.
If your lumbar is hunched in the wrong direction, this will compress all of the vertebrae in your spine leading up to your neck. The compressed vertebrae add tension to your neck muscles resulting in pain or discomfort.
8 Neck Strain Exercises
1. Double Chin Neck Stretch
The double chin neck stretch will surely make you look funny, but it’s excellent for stretching your posterior neck muscles.
To perform the double chin neck stretch, place your buttocks and skull against a wall and stand up straight. Keep your chin parallel with the floor and then slowly move it down toward your chest as far as you can. This movement will stretch out your neck muscles and put your neck in a position it doesn’t normally go in.
Hold the stretch for ten seconds and repeat ten times for the best results. Don’t overdo it because moderation is key here!
2. Pec Stretch
A pec stretch will feel more prominent in your shoulders and chest, but will also do wonders to relieve neck pain, especially on the sides. This exercise is ideal for someone that practices twisted posture.
To do a pec stretch, stand in an open doorway and place your forearms on the door frame. The position should look like you are holding your arms up in surrender. With your hands and arms against the door frame, push your chest forward until you feel your shoulder muscles flex.
Hold this for about 30 seconds and then repeat five or ten times.
3. Thoracic Extension
The thoracic extension is the ideal workout for people suffering from ‘text-neck’. This movement will flex your entire spine as well as your neck muscles.
When doing a thoracic extension, you should sit in a chair with your arms behind your head as if relaxing. Lift your pelvis up and forward until it is off the chair seat, and lean back slightly. When you do this movement, the back and side muscles in your neck stretch and relieve tension.
Hold the position for between five and ten seconds and then, repeat about ten times for best results.
4. Under Armpit Flex
This one is another good one for people suffering from twisted posture, or those that crane their neck up to look at their computer monitor.
All you need to do is lift one arm at a time, and twist your neck so that you can smell your armpit. We know this sounds super gross, but it is one of the best neck exercises.
Hold the position for five seconds and repeat ten times on both sides. Do this movement slowly, or you could injure your neck.
5. Stretch Upper Trapezius
Your trapezius muscle runs along the back of your neck and top of your shoulders. The upper trapezius stretch is for people with twisted posture or poorly positioned monitors.
Sit in a chair with your legs relaxed on the floor. Reach your right hand over your head and place it on the top of your head on the left side. While doing this, sit on your left hand. Pull your head and neck to the right and slightly down, so your ear heads toward your right shoulder.
Hold this pose for ten seconds and then repeat this three or five times on each side.
6. Neck Flex
The neck flex is one of the easiest neck exercises to perform at your desk.
Look straight forward and relax your neck. Bend your head down toward the floor as far as you can go slowly, then lift it back up and look toward the ceiling. Bring your head back down to the center and then move it slowly to the right and then, slowly to the left. Return your head to the center.
Do this exercise slowly over and over again until your neck feels loser. The recommended repetition is between five and ten times.
7. Chin Tuck
The chin tuck is similar to the double chin stretch. This exercise is slightly different with muscles stretched, but very easy to do while still sitting at your desk, unlike the double chin stretch.
Look straight forward with your chin parallel to the floor. Pull your neck in but not down. The movement will flex your posterior and peripheral neck muscles and it’s super easy to do!
Hold your neck in for up to ten seconds and then relax for five and repeat ten to twenty times.
8. Sit Up Straight
You may not consider this an exercise, but sitting up perfectly straight is an effective movement for keeping your neck loose and comfortable.
Your spine and neck should shape into a natural ‘S’ shape when your posture is relaxed. But raising your body and giving your spine a chance to stretch can improve your neck comfort. It is as simple as doing this at your desk whenever you remember or notice your posture lacking.
You can do all of these neck exercises in your office or at home to relieve discomfort and pain. If you don’t suffer from neck pain or discomfort, we still recommend practicing these exercises to prevent any neck injuries or conditions from arising.