7 Easy Stretches To Relieve Tightness In Shoulder And Neck

3 min read

tight shoulder
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Tight shoulder and neck can cause pain and discomfort after a long day of work, sitting still on a chair with an uneven posture. It can be very agitating coming home with tight shoulders and neck. Doing some stretches for tight shoulders can help you relieve the stress. Stretches relieve muscle tension, pain, tightness and discomfort in the shoulders and neck. 

What causes tightness in the shoulders?

Overuse of your shoulder muscles causes the shoulders and neck to become tight or stiff. Tight shoulders can cause pain, stiffness in the upper body and limit your day to day activities. The main cause of shoulder stiffness is sitting for a long time in the same place, bad posture or injuries. Neck and shoulders muscles are responsible for carrying the weight of your head. These muscles can be irked by overuse and postural deformities. Proper posture while sitting and performing stretches are very important to prevent tightness in your neck and shoulders. 

It is common to have temporary tightness in your neck and shoulders if you’ve been sitting and working for a long time which causes your muscles to work excessively. Carrying heavy bag, sitting with the phone while slouching can also cause stiff shoulder and neck muscles. 

Stretches to relieve shoulder tightness

1. Shoulder Rolls

Performing shoulder rolls is an easy and effective way to relieve your stiff shoulders. You should be in a calm place to perform this exercise. 

stretches for tight shoulders

How to do it?

  • Stand on the floor and let the arms hang on the sides. 
  • Inhale and move the shoulder up and then back to form a circle with your shoulders. 
  • Exhale as you come to the rest position and drop your shoulders.
  • Repeat this 10 times 

2. Arm Swings

Arm swings can be a great way to alleviate your shoulder stiffness. It can even be used as a warm-up exercise before a full-body workout. Performing arm swings after a long day of work can be very relieving for alleviating your shoulder tightness. 

stretches for tight shoulders

How to do it?

  • Stand on the floor with arms on the side.
  • Swing your arms forward without raising your shoulders to bring your arms as much higher as they can go. 
  • Lower your arms and bring them in the back as far as you can. 
  • Make sure only your arms are working and the rest of the body is at rest.
  • Perform this move 10 times.

3. Child’s Pose

Child pose is a great stretch for your upper back, neck and shoulder. It ameliorates your shoulder and back muscles to work effectively and relieves tension from the muscles. Make sure you breathe properly while performing this stretch. 

tight shoulder

How to do it?

  • Sit on the floor or a mat with your feet together and your knees folded. 
  • Bring your upper body downwards, folding it and resting your chest on your thighs. 
  • Extend your arms out and bring your forehead close to the floor, touching it. 
  • Feel the stretch on your shoulders and upper back
  • Hold this position for about 30 seconds. 

4. Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

Cross-body shoulder stretch stretches your upper back and shoulders. It is also considered as a great warm-up exercise before any training or sports activity. Performing this stretch for relieves your shoulder tightness.

tight shoulder

How to do it?

  • Stand on the floor with feet hip-width apart.
  • Stretch your right arm straight bringing it to the left side of the body. 
  • Bring your left arm across your stretched right arm above the elbow.
  • Use the left arm to stretch the right arm by pulling it gently. 
  • Stretch it for 20 seconds and do the same with the left arm. 

5. Cat-Cow Pose

Cat cow pose is an amazing stretch for your back. Your core works intensively while performing this stretch. This stretch relieves your tight shoulder and neck. It is one of a great stiff shoulder stretch. 

tight shoulder

How to do it?

  • Place your hand below your shoulders and your knees below your hip.
  • Breathe in deeply while you look down at your abdominal and bring your upper back a little higher as you breathe.
  • Breathe out as you put your chin up, stretching your neck and back.
  • Do this for a few minutes. Make sure you stretch your shoulder and back muscles.

6. Neck Stretch

Neck stretches can help you relieve the stress at the top of your shoulders. It is easy to do stretch. You can do this stretch even while sitting. It can ease the stress on your neck and upper shoulder. Make sure you don’t stretch too far.

tight shoulder

How to do it?

  • Stand on the floor and let your arms hang by the side of your body. 
  • Look forward and move your head to the right shoulder (touching the ear to the shoulder). Feel the stretch.
  • Do the same with the left side. Hold the position for 10 seconds each time. 

7. Cow Face Pose

Cow Face Pose helps you stretch your shoulders, armpits, triceps and chest. It might be a little difficult for people with tight shoulders but it is a great stretch for relieving stiff shoulders.

tight shoulder

How to do it?

  • From a sitting position, bring your left elbow to the side of your head and your hand on the back (facing down your spine)
  • Bring your right hand on your left elbow as you stretch your left elbow down your spine. 
  • Feel the stretch on your upper back and armpits.
  • Hold this position for 1 minute and repeat the same with the right side.

Benefits Of Tight Shoulder Stretches

Performing these exercises can be very helpful in relieving tight shoulders. When you stretch your muscles, they extend which enhances your muscles’ ability to work more efficiently. It reduces stress, reduces pain, improves posture and increases the mobility of your muscles.

Stretching can even help in reducing chronic neck and shoulder pain by strengthening your muscles to their full length which makes them work with increased mobility. Stretching can be a great way to relieve tight shoulders and neck. 

If your shoulder and neck stiffness persists even after performing these stretches, seek advice from a health professional. Working in the right posture, taking breaks and stretching in between work may help you prevent tight shoulders and neck. 

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