In the modern world, there are plenty of ways we can end up causing ourselves neck pain; scrolling on our phones, bad posture, lifting heavy shopping, and playing sports, can all strain the muscles in our necks. Even if you avoid all of these, we’ve all woken up to a crick in the neck because of our sleeping position or pillow placement. If you are one of those people who find that you are suffering from frequent bouts of neck pain, this guide is for you.


We have got four simple tips which can help relieve your neck of tension and prevent it from becoming strained in the first place. The tips come from orthopaedic surgeon Dr David-Christopher Kubosch, who works for the Joint Clinic in Germany. Dr Kubosch specialises in musculoskeletal conditions and joint pain, so who better to help you avoid stiffness?

Four tips to get rid of a stiff neck

Here are Dr Kubosch’s four tips for resolving and preventing neck pain. By following these simple tips, you can ease tension and keep your neck pain-free. Give them a try and start feeling the difference!

1. Take a dip in the pool

Elderly woman with goggles in pool

Dr Kubosch explains that one way to ease neck tension is by swimming. This works as doing laps in the pool helps to strengthen the muscles in the chest and shoulders. These two muscles help support the neck, so building them means the neck doesn’t have to work as hard to support the head.

Swimming also gives the neck rest as it is supported by water during the exercise, so it doesn’t have to hold the same tension that it would on land. Dr Kubosch says that swimming is great "provided you don't keep your head above water the whole time”. He says to opt for backstroke or try submerging your head underwater during the gliding phase of breaststroke.

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If you want to strengthen your neck through swimming, then you might need some equipment if you’re just starting out or your gear is old. Check out our guides to the best swimming goggles and the best swimming caps if you’re in need of an equipment update.

2. Stretch and reach

Black African American Woman Doing Yoga Outdoors with Eyes Closed

Another tip from Dr Jubosch is to perform this simple stretch and reach exercise. He says that holding this for 20 to 30 seconds is enough to relax the muscles in your neck and back, encouraging tension to be released. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand or sit up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Relax your shoulders and let your arms hang naturally by your sides.
  3. Slowly tilt your head to the right side, bringing your right ear towards your right shoulder. You should feel a gentle stretch along the left side of your neck.
  4. To enhance the stretch, you can use your right hand to gently grasp the left side of your head above the ear and apply slight downward pressure.
  5. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds while breathing deeply and maintaining a relaxed posture.
  6. Slowly return your head to the neutral position.
  7. Repeat the same stretch on the other side by tilting your head to the left side, bringing your left ear towards your left shoulder. You can use your left hand to provide a gentle additional stretch.
  8. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.

If you find you have pain in other areas, there are more stretches you can try out at home. Check out our guide to the 10 best yoga poses for pain and stress relief to find out more.

3. Shoulder shrugs

This is another exercise which can help with relieving tension in your neck. Dr Kubosch recommended it because it doesn’t matter whether you're standing or sitting on a stool, you can easily perform this exercise. This shoulder-shrugging movement promotes better blood circulation to the muscles in your neck and shoulders, providing relief from strain and muscle tension. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand or sit up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Relax your arms and let them hang naturally by your sides.
  3. Inhale deeply and lift both shoulders up towards your ears as high as you can. You should feel a slight tension in your shoulder muscles.
  4. Hold the shrugged position for a few seconds, maintaining the tension.
  5. Exhale and slowly lower your shoulders back down to the starting position, relaxing the muscles.
  6. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions (typically 10-15 repetitions).
  7. Take a short break, and then repeat the exercise for another set.

4. Mind your posture

Rear view of woman with stack of books on her head

The final tip from Dr Kubosch is to maintain a good posture and keep your neck in check.

He says that the key is to stand tall with your chest out and shoulders back. If you spend a lot of time on your mobile phone, make a conscious effort to keep your head upright, even if it means holding the device a little higher.

By holding a good posture, neck pain is alleviated because the spine is aligned. This helps to reduce muscle strain, promoting muscle balance, supporting joint stability, improving circulation, and preventing excessive tension.

Good posture also optimises the position of the head and neck so that stress on the neck is reduced. If you think your posture needs improving, then we have tips and tricks in our guide on how to improve your posture.


If you want to see more wellness content and recommendations for experts, then check out The Recommended's wellness section. Here you can find guides to mindfulness habits to boost your everyday happiness, tips for better focus and concentration, and how to create a productive workspace, reduce stress at work and improve desk posture.


Finn ByrneEcommerce Writer

Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended,, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.