Have you ever slept funny or spent hours hunching over a screen?

I definitely have and I know the sudden pain that appears out of the blue around the neck and shoulders.

Hi, I’m Tran a Physiotherapist at Primal Physiotherapy.
Today I’m going to show you how to relieve this pain with these 5 easy stretches.

Before I show you I’m going to run you through : (I have a PDF download link at the bottom)

  • Why our lifestyles matter especially working from home
  • How you can avoid and prevent further pain
  • My 5 easy stretches you can do now relieve the pain now


5 Easy Neck Shoulder Stretches That You Can Do To Relieve Pain Now
source: Pexels

Why our lifestyles matter especially working from home 

Working in an office for long hours is bad enough, but a work from home set-up is even worse. The beauty of working from home is that you can just move from your bed to desk in under 5 minutes, but that doesn’t allow much movement for your body. At work, you would normally walk to different areas and even go grab lunch with some coworkers.

Another issue with working from home is that you may have gotten too comfortable and fallen asleep on the couch or spent too long in that one position. Even if you’re not working from home most people come home to their couch or bed and relax after a long day. We turn on some entertainment and watch tv series or movies and that puts us into that one spot for the next few hours.

When we get too comfortable we tend to forget about our body until that one morning we wake up and go..

“my neck and shoulder feels stiff and tight,”

“I’m having a major headache today,”

“there is radiating pain from the base of my neck to the base of my shoulders.”

Have you called a sickie from this situation before? Comment below and let us know.

source: Shutterstock

I use to say it all the time before I became a qualified Physiotherapist. I know the feeling when I treat a patient so I understand this is a very common issue.

The reasons vary from person to person, as neck and shoulder pain can come from an array of mechanisms; they can either develop together or they can be independent of one another or it could be a snowball effect where an injury occurs and your body reacts to the injury by recruiting multiple muscle groups to protect or help that painful area.


How we can avoid and prevent further pain

The most common ways to develop neck and shoulder pain are:

  • repetitive injuries,
  • long-term sustained postures (whether it is slumped or sitting up tall),
  • or acute injuries such as whiplash or a fall.

It is important to avoid and prevent these issues early as it could lead to chronic neck and shoulder pain. Most injuries can be avoided with 2-4 weeks of frequent light movement and strengthening. Untreated problems could push recovery up to 4-16 weeks with Physiotherapy and longer without.

The longer you leave it untreated the more painful and bothersome it will affect your life.

For the best and most effective way to treat your pain is to consult a physiotherapist to understand and customize a plan to help you recover and avoid further injuries.

Primal Physiotherapy exercises shoulder

Tran – Physiotherapist finding the restriction in her clients shoulders

Did you know that the most common thing people do to make their injury worse is to avoid movement of their neck or shoulder?

Yes, that’s right! Moving definitely helps with the recovery process and I’m going to show you some light stretches.

It is recommended that gentle movements and stretches is commenced if tightness or pain occurs. Gentle movement is part of the rehabilitation process so that stiffness does not settle in and prolong the recovery period. When an injury occurs, people tend to follow two concepts: “no pain, no gain” or “pain equates to a serious injury.” However, finding the right symptom-relieving exercises for the neck and shoulder can help ease the tightness or pain in the neck and shoulder.

Disclaimer: if you are experiencing dizziness, double vision, trouble swallowing, pin and needles down your arm with your neck pain, please immediately consult with a physiotherapist or your local general practitioner.

The Stretches

Let’s have a look at some stretches I recommend to help ease your tight neck and shoulder pain. These are great for temporary relief but it’s best to always consult a Physiotherapist for the best outcome.

  • Upper Trap Stretch
  • Nose to armpit (Levator Scap stretch)
  • Scalene Stretch
  • Chin Tuck – The Correct Way
  • Chest Stretch (Pec stretch)

Quick Reminder Check

  • Remember, be gentle with yourself and move slowly.
  • Do this once every 3-4 hours but anytime is also fine.
  • Each stretch is held for 15-30 seconds.
  • Listen to your favourite song while doing this to feel even better!
  • Listen to your body. You can overdo it on a stretch, so have a gentle stretch rather than a strong one.
  • Seek the advice of a Physiotherapist for the best results
  • You can download our PDF here: https://bit.ly/2GoBh7L

Stretch #1 –  Upper Trap Stretch

  • Take your right hand and place it on the top of your head
  • Gently and slowly let your head drop to your right shoulder
  • You will feel a stretch on the left side of your neck
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat for the other side.

Upper trap neck stretch

Upper trap neck stretch performed by Tran Nguyen


Stretch #2 – Nose to armpit (Levator Scap stretch)

  • Sitting down on your left hand, put your right hand, and place it on your head.
  • look right, gently let your head tilt towards the direction of your armpit, and apply gentle pressure with the hand to feel the stretch.
  • you will feel the stretch on the left backside.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat for the other side.

Nose to armpit neck stretch

Nose To Armpit Neck Stretch performed by Tran Nguyen


Stretch #3 –  Scalene Stretch

  • Place both your hands on the right side collar bone.
  • Look all the way up, and then turn your head to the left. (face 10 o’clock)
  • You will feel the front right side of your neck activate and get stretched.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat for the other side.

Scalene neck stretch

Scalene Neck Stretch performed by Tran Nguyen


Stretch #4 – Chin Tuck – The Correct Way

  • Most people would move their chin down towards their neck and create a big double chin.
  • The correct way is to focus on your jaw, pull your head backward and you will feel the back of your neck/skull.
  • You will feel the tightness of the back of your neck.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds.

Chin tuck neck stretch

Chin Tuck Neck Stretch performed by Tran Nguyen


Stretch #5 – Chest Stretch (Pec stretch)

  • Facing forward under a door, place your elbow behind the left side of the door frame and rest your hand on your neck.
  • With both feet facing forward turn them both to face the right side of the door the best you can go.
  • You will feel a stretch on the left side of your chest along your shoulders.
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

chest stretch

Chest Stretch performed by Tran Nguyen



Neck and Shoulder pain is common to people who work for long periods with bad posture. Frequent gentle movement and stretches should be done every few hours to remove fatigue and tightness from building up in the muscles. For the most effective pain-free treatment visit Primal Physiotherapy and I will be happy to review your condition.

Download our PDF for a summarised version of our stretches here: https://bit.ly/2GoBh7L

Tran Nguyen graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Doctor of Physiotherapy qualification. With a background and undergraduate in sports science, Tran has extensive knowledge in sports and musculoskeletal conditions. In her spare time, she enjoys powerlifting and exploring Melbourne.

Primal Physiotherapy is the leader in Physiotherapy focused on guiding you through your injury so you can return back to life, work, and exercise pain-free. To learn more about us you can learn more here: https://primalphysiotherapy.com.au/

Primal Physiotherapy understanding our customers