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8 Neck Exercises To Do At Your Desk

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Wellness related image Andres Rodriguez/Photospin

If you are a woman who sits at a desk for long hours, staring at the computer, making numerous phone calls, and just stressing about life in general, your neck is probably killing you by the end of the day.

Good news -- here’s eight exercises you can do at your desk, anytime of the day or night, whether you’re working on a deadline or sitting at your favorite bookstore. You can do it right now while you're reading this.

(Warning: Do not do these exercises if you have a pre-existing neck condition or if you feel extreme pain or dizziness.)

1. Dorsal glide
- Sit tall and look straight ahead.
- Slowly tuck your chin as you glide your head backward over your body.
- Hold for a count of 6, then relax for up to 10 seconds.
- Repeat 8 to 12 times.

2. Hands on Head
- Put the heels of both hands against your forehead just above your eyebrows.
- Press your hands firmly against your forehead at the same time you press your head against your hands.
- Do not tip your head forward. Hold for about 6 seconds.
- Rest for up to 10 seconds, then repeat.
- Repeat each exercise 8 to 12 times.

3. Cable Stretch
- While sitting with chin in, stomach in, shoulders relaxed, hands relaxed in lap, and feet flat on the floor, imagine a cable pulling the head upward.
- Hold for 3 seconds and relax.
- Repeat 3 times.

4. Side Bend: Neck Stretch
- Tilt head to one side (ear towards shoulder).
- Hold for 15 seconds.
- Relax.
- Repeat 3 times on each side.
5. Diagonal Neck Stretch
- Turn head slightly and then look down as if looking in your pocket.
- Hold for 15 seconds.
- Relax.
- Repeat 3 times on each side.
6. Shoulder Shrug
- Slowly bring shoulders up to the ears and hold for 3 seconds.
- Rotate shoulders back and down.
- Repeat 10 times.

7. Executive Stretch
- Lock hands behind head.
- Bring elbows back as far as possible.
- Inhale deeply while leaning back and stretching.
- Hold for 20 seconds.
- Exhale and relax.
- Repeat 1 time.
8. Sideways Stretch
- Grab edge of your chair and lean to the other side until the arm is tight.
- Tip your head sideways and bring your free hand over your head and put a finger in your ear.
- Relax this arm progressively so that its’ weight is taken up gently by your neck.
- Never use your arm to actively pull down on your head.

Keep these exercises by your desk and try to do them daily. If you don’t feel relief after a few days or if your neck pain worsens, it may be time to consult with your doctor.

Don't have the privacy to do these exercises at your desk? Try them next time you go to the rest room.

Good luck!

See below for sources, diagrams, and more stretching exercises:

Web MD - Health and Fitness - Dorsal-Glide. Web. 28, September, 2011

Web MD - Health and Fitness - Isometric Exercise - Hands on Head. Web. 28, September, 2011

MedicineNet - Neck Exercises & Stretches. Web. 28, September, 2011

holistic-doc-pain-support.com - How to Avoid or Improve Chronic Pain. Web. 28, September, 2011

Reviewed September 28, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.