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How to Fix a Stiff Neck or Shoulders

When I injured my neck, I began searching for information and relief. I found these exercises to be a lifesaver.

Neck and shoulder pain can be caused by something as simple as sleeping the wrong way—or by something as serious as a herniated disk. The fact of the matter, though, is that one can be just as agonizing as the other! To be safe, always take things gently when trying to loosen and stretch the area. It's important to ensure you don't make any injuries worse.

Shoulder pain is often not really in the shoulder at all—it's what is called "referred pain" from the neck. So if your problem is shoulder pain, it's worth treating the neck as well, to see if it helps.

If you know the pain is the result of injury, you should start with an ice pack. The aim is to stop inflammation in its tracks; otherwise it will be even more painful tomorrow.

Once the injury has settled down, or if you know the pain is muscle spasm, then a heat pack will work better. However, heat will make inflammation worse—so if there's the slightest chance there's an underlying injury, don't risk it no matter how tempting that soothing heat may sound.

In an emergency, you can buy single-use ice or heat packs. Usually you twist them to break an inner capsule, and they turn cold or hot.

If you often get neck pain, it makes more sense to get yourself a pack you can use over and over again. Look for dual purpose therapy packs—the kind you can heat up in the microwave or chill in the freezer, depending on your need.

Gentle stretching will ease neck pain

Gentle stretching will ease neck pain

If the pain is severe, don't attempt any stretches for the first 24 hours. For moderate pain, it's good to do some gentle neck stretching straightaway.

Gentle Neck Stretches (Lying Down)

Lie down on the bed. Now slide the back of your head away from your shoulders - think about lengthening the back of your neck. Your head will tilt forward slightly and your chin will tuck into your neck. Pull your chin in as far as you can and press the back of your neck into the mattress for 10 seconds, then relax. Do 3 sets of 10.

You may want to be alone when you do this exercise - if you do it right, it will make you look like you have a really attractive double chin (if not several)!

Next, still lying on the bed, roll your head from side to side. Don't try to force it or control it, just let your head turn gently and rhythmically from one shoulder to the other. You could even play some music to keep time to! Keep this up as long as you can manage - you'll find your range gradually increases, the longer you keep rolling.

Gentle Neck Stretches (Standing Up)

If the lying stretch is easy, you can do the same "chin tuck" exercise sitting or standing in front of a mirror. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin into your neck (there are those gorgeous double chins again) and push backwards, stretching the back of your neck. To make this stretch stronger, you can put both hands on your chin and push back. Don't drop your head - if you keep looking in the mirror, it helps you hold the right posture.

These exercises can be done several times a day, whenever you remember.

If (and only if!) you can do the basic exercises without exacerbating your pain, it's time to move on to more advanced versions.

Please do not even attempt any of these if the basic exercises make your pain worse!

These are basically the same neck exercises you'll find at any fitness class - dropping your chin to your chest and turning it side to side - but there are important differences.

Forward tilt

Sit on a hard chair with your back straight. Tuck your chin in (as for the basic exercise above), then lower your head forward. Move your head only, don't drop your shoulders or round your back, and keep pulling your chin in. Now place your hands gently on the top of your head - don't press down, just let them rest there. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Do 3 sets of 10.

Side tilt

Do the same thing to the side. Hold the edge of the chair with your right hand, to prevent you lifting your right shoulder. Keeping your chin tucked in, lower your left ear to your left shoulder. Lift your left hand and rest it gently over your head, fingers touching your right ear. Don't press down, just feel the weight. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat the whole exercise on the other side.

Look over shoulder

The third exercise is simply to turn your head from side to side. Keep your your head upright, and turn to look as far as you can over each shoulder without forcing it.

You'll notice I don't suggest an exercise to tilt your head back. That's because tilting the head back can pinch the nerves at the back of the neck, so it's best avoided unless you have been given the all-clear to do so by a professional.

When in doubt, it's always best to talk to your doctor or see a neck pain specialist.

When in doubt, it's always best to talk to your doctor or see a neck pain specialist.

For the shoulder exercise, you'll need a long thin bolster. If you have a firm cervical roll, that's perfect - otherwise roll up a towel tightly into a tube shape.

Shoulder release

Lie on your back on the floor, and position the roll so it runs along your spine, from just below your neck to your waist (this can take some wriggling!).

Let your arms fall out to the side, palms up. Feel your shoulder blades dropping down each side of the roll and your chest opening up. You can put a thin pillow under your head if you're feeling uncomfortable in this position.

If your shoulder is very sore, just relaxing in this position may be enough. If you're ready to go further:

Shoulder Swings

Bring your arms to your sides, palms facing your thighs. Now, keeping your arms relaxed and slightly bent, lift them straight up and take them as far over your head as you can. Your goal, eventually, is to touch the floor above your head - but don't force it!

Do this exercise quite fast, swinging your arms loosely over your head and back down to your thighs. Aim to do at least 100 of these swings. As you do it, you should feel your shoulder blades dropping more and more either side of the roll. Don't worry if you can't get far over your head at first, and don't force it - it should be a very relaxed movement.

Using electrotherapy as a means for pain relief has been something scientists have experimented with for years. The modern day method of doing this is with what is referred to as a "TENS" machine. TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.

These devices consist of small pads that you place on your skin in the areas where you are feeling pain. Small electrical impulses are sent through the skin via these pads, which causes a certain type of stimulation to occur and your body to naturally produce endorphins, which act as a painkiller. Modern day versions of these devices can be extremely effective at revealing pain in multiple areas of the body.

Neck pain is one of the most common reasons for people to visit a massage therapist. However, there is quite a bit you can do at home to get relief.

Neck pain is one of the most common reasons for people to visit a massage therapist. However, there is quite a bit you can do at home to get relief.

Buy a Good Pillow

One of the biggest culprits is your sleeping position. If your head is turned sideways to your body while you're sleeping, or scrunched into your shoulder, you're almost guaranteeing you'll have neck pain one day. Your head and shoulders must be in alignment while you sleep.

Many people skimp on a good pillow, because it seems ludicrous to pay seventy or eighty dollars for a chunk of latex. Think of it this way - it's not an investment in a pillow, it's an investment in your neck!

One word of warning - I don't recommend a Tempur pillow. They're comfortable because they mould themselves to your body - but that means if you lie in a position that's bad for your neck, the pillow will mould itself around you, and ensure you stay there! You may find a supportive pillow uncomfortable at first, because it's forcing you to sleep in a position that's not natural for you - but if your "natural" sleeping position was causing your neck pain, then you need to persevere!

The choice of supportive pillows is a bewildering one, and different models will suit different people. The Arc4life Cervical Linear Traction Neck Pillow is one of the best I've found so far.

Sit Properly!

The other major source of neck pain is the computer. Check out the ergonomics of your work set-up.

These days, it's very common for people to push their laptop or desktop PC towards the back of the desk, and have all sorts of notes and devices in front of it. Or they push it back so they can rest their forearms on the desk. Believe it or not, this is the reason why so many people today have neck and shoulder problems.

Sit back in your chair and reach forward with your hands. If you can't touch your screen with your fingertips, it's too far away - you may not be aware of it, but your head will move forward slightly to see it, and that puts enormous pressure on your neck.

Now bring your elbows back so they touch the sides of your body, letting your hands fall on the desktop. That's where your keyboard needs to sit. If your keyboard is even slightly further away, you'll have to tense the muscles in your arms to hold them in position, and that tension will flow up to your neck. Resting your forearms on the desk won't help! It's the angle of the upper arm that's important - it needs to be hanging relaxed from the shoulder, not reaching forward.

If you fix the things that are causing your problem, and keep doing the simple exercises for a week or so after the pain has cleared, you can beat neck and shoulder pain. As with all things, if pain persists, see your doctor.

References

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2008 Kate Swanson

Comments

witlife on August 25, 2018:

I love the idea of using Yoga, I have always wanted to be more flexible and since I was diagnosed with Scoliosis I have been trying to get more stretching in my routine, I go to Scoliosis care center and with the new brace and some yoga I know some of this pain will ease. Thanks for the post.

Angela Barnes on June 11, 2018:

Thanks for all the advice and information. I'll try some of these stretches and change my pillow

Paul Atteberry on June 02, 2018:

I used a product called Smarthealth Naturopathics "Shoulder Pain,Knots ,with tension and stiffness Formula. this worked great for long term relief that I couldn't get for massage.

Matthew from Florida on March 21, 2014:

Great Hub Page About neck pain - I think using a good pillow at night is key to waking up without a stiff neck. My husband and I can never switch pillows- we have a favorite ones and stick with them.

Jim on January 26, 2013:

Some great ideas on stretching. Regarding the ice packs you can make them yourself! Use a 50/50 ratio of water to isopropyl alcohol put your mix in a plastic bag and throw it in the freezer wait a couple hours and you have a reusable ice pack!

http://www.uppercervicalhealthcentersboise.com/

Cut The Bullshit from All Over on June 23, 2012:

Great advice. Will try some of these now.

ali sudi on June 12, 2012:

thanks alot...got this at the right time especially the bit on computor monitor distance and type of pillow to use....many times we think of the money we use and not our own health.

fish oil blog on April 14, 2012:

Interesting hub. I just read about natural muscle relaxers. You might want to check that hub out too, in the same category as this one.

Kate Swanson (author) from Sydney on April 12, 2012:

Christine, make sure you're tucking your chin in while you do the neck exercises. If you don't have a double chin while you're doing them, you're not tucking your chin in enough.

If you're still getting dizziness and vision problems when you do them like that, get yourself to a doctor immediately - it may mean nerves are involved.

Christine on April 12, 2012:

Doing these made me dizzy and my eyes blurry. Why?

louromano on March 17, 2012:

Very well written hub .Thanks for sharing.

woohoo on December 29, 2011:

my sister said she has to get a ice pack and sleep fore one hour

CZCZCZ from Oregon on December 17, 2011:

Thanks for the reminders. I find lots of stretching and sleeping well to be the best cures / healing factors for my stiff shoulders and tight upper back.

Zashi on October 24, 2011:

Thanks, my shoulders feel much looser now! :)

ArielMarie from Roy, WA on October 13, 2011:

My boyfriend will be very thankful of this information! Thanks a bunch!!! :)

kripkrip420 from In relation to what? on October 12, 2011:

Thank you sooooooo much!

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on September 27, 2011:

Terrific suggestions. I often have a stiff neck and I will be trying the stretches.

htodd from United States on September 16, 2011:

Yoga really works great..Thanks for the great post..Nice

Matt on September 13, 2011:

Wow, really great info. I just tried some of the neck stretches at work and I feel so much better. Thanks! I have a tempur pillow at home and I think you are 100% correct. If you lay on you back, it's a great pillow, but I always end up on my stomach with my head/neck turned. Going to buy a firm pillow asap.

Paul Cronin from Winnipeg on September 01, 2011:

This is great, info I can really use, especially since I spend so much time on a computer, or maybe its those old football injuries, lol. Eitherway, this will come in real handy, as my neck pain is definitely a pain in the neck! I think I have to try those neck stretches. Thanks for sharing, Voted Up and Useful!

skye2day from Rocky Mountains on August 26, 2011:

Wow thank you Iam certainly going to use this. After being on hubs all morning. Yikes stiff neck big times. Hug Galore. Up awesome Very Nice hub of love. You have a new fan!! (-; Thank You

Gaarf Rosewell on August 26, 2011:

Yes, I do believe in stretching exercises... firmly! Just turning 54, I've found regular stretching to be somewhat of a Fountain of Youth.

John on August 25, 2011:

AWESOME tips! I've suffered from neck pain for over 4 years now where my muscles completely spasm out and I can't even hold my head up for days afterwards. I'm currently going through my 2nd round at the chiropractor, and all he's having me do are the same exercises you are suggesting. Could have saved myself hundreds of dollars by just reading your site!

Thank you so much for sharing this information :)

Paul Cronin from Winnipeg on August 09, 2011:

Wow, I could have really used this info a year ago. I have book marked it for future reference. I'm sure I'll need it sooner or later, again... Thanks for sharing!

Ravi Singh from India on August 08, 2011:

I too had problems with neck pain.I tried some stretches and yoga nad it helped me a lot.Thanks for your hub.

TANJIM ARAFAT SAJIB from Bangladesh on August 02, 2011:

I have a neck problem. Sometimes I feel pain in my neck after getting up from the bed...This hub will help me to take care my neck. Thank you.

Freegoldman from Newyork on July 20, 2011:

I have been experiencing such shoulder pains since last 6 months becz of sitting in front of my PC for more than 14hrs.Shall try it out .

Mary on June 01, 2011:

Bookmarked, thank you exactly what I was looking for :)

DrStitzel from Lititz, Pa on May 04, 2011:

The "soft tissue" component of neck/should pain can't we understated. Great job of focusing on the rehab aspect of fixing the problem. That's where the real long term value is for the patient.

http://www.treatingscoliosis.com

deadlyking on April 25, 2011:

i am working long time in computer i hav back pain.... tell any easy way to cure

skilby1 on April 11, 2011:

thanks for the info, i seem to get either sore shoudlers or neck about once a week, i will have to try out some of your tips next time.

youngdubliner from Dublin, Ireland on March 22, 2011:

will try this the next time i'l have a stiff neck which i am not hoping to have one anyway ;) if only. thanks for sharing. bookmarked!

Jamie on March 09, 2011:

i've tried it and it really helped thanks and by the way charlote we know u've got pain in your neck but u dont have to swear.i can give you money to get it messaged.(although i dont know whu u r)IM jokin hun i had the same type tuuu!!jokin!!!!

Charlotte on March 09, 2011:

i cant even turn my neck to the left or do stupid exercise.it hurts so much and i hate it with passion.ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!i basically had a bad sleep in my pillow ive tried all sorts of ways of sleeping but it wont just go!!!i HATE IT HATE U STIFF NECK JUST GO AWAY AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Ben on March 09, 2011:

i had a car accident 12 yrs ago in my country (toronto,ontario canada)with my big bro.we were driving when this BIG van came passing us(escaped from prison)and just winded us away i hit my neck,shoulder and head at the top of the car.the pains really SUCK BIG TIME.i go to the washroom and have HOT SHOWER when i feel the pain.BUT im really exicted to try this exercise that i just read.AWESOME!!!!!!!

adina on March 09, 2011:

WOW awesome! i'll try this Now.i had stiff necks for years

jayjay40 from Bristol England on February 25, 2011:

Great hub very useful.

Kate Swanson (author) from Sydney on February 24, 2011:

Dee, the exercises are very, very simple so please try reading the article slowly. If your pain is that severe, you should only be doing the first exercise anyway.

Dee on February 24, 2011:

I tried to do the first ones but I can't understand anything without demos, could you provide pics at least, please? I also tried the first one in the video and my pain is so bad that I couldn't do it without great pain so I am going to stop for now. Any suggestions on modifications? I have never done yoga and have no idea how to breathe, I always tense up and stop breathing or breathe at the wrong time which makes me crazy!

Eczema in Babies on February 01, 2011:

Wow thanks for the info here, i suffer almost daily and think its due to my work position at a desk. Great useful advice here, big thumbs up from me!

Ankush Kohli from India on January 26, 2011:

It's a superb and complete article on neck pain. I almost spend 12-13 hrs working online so I need to take care my positions.

Thanks for tips!

Tyler on December 23, 2010:

Its to painful for me to event attempt to move my neck.

Broomfield Chiropractor on November 21, 2010:

This is a great article and is packed with valuable information. http://www.rockcreekspine.com are voted the best Chiropractor in Broomfield, CO, just in case the cold compress and streching techniques don't work!

MercuryNewsOnline from Toronto, Canada on October 01, 2010:

Well written and very informative. It is also helpful to note that many neck and shoulder pains could be attributed to inner ear infection. Great hub. Thanks.

belliott on August 31, 2010:

Thank you for the good information. I will try some of the stretches outlined.

weng on August 31, 2010:

thanks i will do the yoga after work!

Dorsi Diaz from The San Francisco Bay Area on August 27, 2010:

Good info for us neck and shoulder pain sufferers. I have arthritis in my neck from injuries and use massage, pain killers, anit-inflammatories, stretching and also found Tai-Chi helpful. My favorite neck roll got chewed by the dog but it was awesome for aligning my spine. I'm also going to try acupressure. I heard this can also be helpful.

I'm going to tweet this and like it on Facebook. Great info for helping people.

Thanks Marisa.

RoseGardenAdvice from San Francisco on August 08, 2010:

A great resource to sort out my neck problems. Thanks for sharing.

Kim Hansen on August 07, 2010:

Thanks for sharing these exercises.

I have found that using the Pomodoro technique together with simple exercises in each break, makes my body feel really good in the end of the day and I get to be more productive, which relieves stress.

allan lund hansen on August 06, 2010:

It is great with some advice on how to overcome these struggles, I have had neck problems myself stiff and sore. This is why we have tried to put together a little work-help application that can help prevent this or at least strengthen it together with a personal trainer. Check it out: http://www.health-wize.net/index.php/worksmart it is free so hope you dont consider this spam :)

esllr from Charlotte on July 30, 2010:

Thanks for all this helpful advice. When on the computer so long we are all eventually affected with such pains.

You can also take a break and:

Close your eyes and roll them around (slowly) 10 times to the left then 10 times to the left.

Rest 5 second

Then repeat with larger circles with eyes closed.

This will reduce eye strain and improve eye muscles, especially if you have astigmatism. Go ahead try it!

Shawn Scarborough from The Lone Star State on July 23, 2010:

Thank you for sharing this information. I frequently suffer from neck pain and stiffness, which often causes headaches for me. Hopefully the tips you offered here will help me.

Kate Swanson (author) from Sydney on July 19, 2010:

@lender, when you have a stiff neck you can twist your back in an attempt to reduce the pain, so that's not surprising. The best and safest stretch is to lie on your back and hug one knee at a time into your chest.

@adam, knees are difficult. If you have a pain on the inside of your kneecap, you may have torn a cartilage and ANY stretches or exercises will make it worse. See someone!

adam212010 from manchester on July 19, 2010:

thanks will try this ,what would you recomoend for my knee ....hurts

lender3212000 from Beverly Hills, CA on July 19, 2010:

Thank you, that was some very good information. Do you have any ideas that could help with a stiff and sore back? I usually end up with back problems very shortly after pulling a neck muscle for some reason.

Sunnyglitter from Cyberspace on July 18, 2010:

I need to do this! I constantly have neck pain. Argh.

Dawn Michael from THOUSAND OAKS on July 14, 2010:

loved this article I just did the one in the chair shoulder tilt, and it does help, writing all day really gets my neck and back out. I try to do yoga a few times a week but remembering to do the streches while at the computer is a good idea.

adorababy from Syracuse, NY on June 30, 2010:

Sleeping position is the most common culprit of stiff neck shoulder pains. I have experienced this several times and it is one of the most uncomfortable feeling that you can have.

Artisina from Sacramento on June 15, 2010:

Thanks for the tips. They work very well for all people but also for office workers. They need to be doing these stretches every so often during the day to keep the pain aways. Awesome hub.

Jorge Vamos on June 07, 2010:

I'll try that next time I'm sitting at the computer for six hours.

Best Chiropractor on May 25, 2010:

Very helpful hub. I have really bad posture - you learn something NEW everyday. Hope to see some more great articles and videos.

Thanks

Kelly Kline Burnett from Fontana, WI on May 14, 2010:

Love neck exercises! So very necessary in our world of high stress.

ALL4JESUS from USA on May 10, 2010:

I had doctors - 4 - very prestigious wanting to operate. I worked through the pain, do exercises every day and while still often stiff, I have managed to overcome it. I purchased a hot tub with special neck jets - amazing! The traction did help. Heat and water combined is the very best. I am like Dan - every since a car accident - never sign off on an accident until the last moment especially with neck pain. I cannot live without my ergonomic pillow.

You are a great writer - very well done - accurate and yet concise on very complicated medical topics.

shantee da badest on April 28, 2010:

i have been sufferin all day i cnt take it any longer i pray this helps

Linda Todd from Charleston on April 19, 2010:

Great information as I have been having some of these things happen due to holding my head and neck in a certain position while writing.

Thanks for your exclusive descriptions.

borge_009 from Philippines on April 14, 2010:

Thanks. I usually wake up with pains in my neck because I may be sleeping the wrong way. Thanks for the info

Seen On TV on March 21, 2010:

Great Hub. I've suffered enough stiffness over my life to know that I had to stop and read every word of this. I was impressed that I knew most of the stretches but I never remember to do them when I'm in pain. There is no more of a nuicsense than a stiff neck or shoulder pain but it usually only lasts 2 days max for me. I know it lingers longer in others but I'm pretty lucky

bihar from Patna on February 24, 2010:

so interesting, never thought about this.

Springboard from Wisconsin on February 10, 2010:

It's like when you get that occasional, what I like to call, crick in the neck. You wake up and it hurts to turn the neck to one or the other side. This will definitely be a hub I'll have to revisit upon the arrival of the next crick. Thanks. :)

Rachelle from South Africa on February 01, 2010:

oh wow ! Man this sight is Excellent - had neck pain for over two months - and I have been so desperate.... I went onto google and BOBS your aunty - this site has worked absolute wonders - Thanks so Much xxx I also bought a Tempur pillow and it never helped - but now I see its also about the way we sleep ! I may have a pinched nerve - but feeling these stretches - I believe it will pass ! So excited - dakko@telkomsa.net

Juliette Kando FI Chor from Andalusia on January 22, 2010:

Good moves you are giving Marisa, they really work.

Renee S from Virginia on January 21, 2010:

Helpful advice. I live with chronic neck pain and tension from a car accident.

Kathleen Lewis from Southern Michigan on January 21, 2010:

Perfect timing for me to find this Hub! My shoulder is sore - stemming from my neck. OK, five minutes later and I feel better. That shoulder release exercise...yummmmm!

Dan Carson on January 05, 2010:

I've had problems with my neck since a car accident I was involved in when I was 18 and the other thing I do is sleep on an ergonomic pillow and it has been fantastic.

jtrader on December 17, 2009:

I did some of these even while I was reading. Helpful article.

ClaudiaP from California on December 08, 2009:

Most evenings, after having sat all day in front of a computer, the back of my neck and my shoulders hurt pretty bad. So, I definitely need to try these exercises!

thaninja from America on October 18, 2009:

Bookmarked this page for the video. I am in front of a computer way too much and don't want to be a hunchbank!

SMWriter from PA - USA on October 14, 2009:

Good to know the various methods to relieve a stiff neck. Great help..

sonal on September 16, 2009:

Thanks a lot i am fed up of my neck problem and it has disturbed my life, first thing I will now buy a good pillow and try out all the stretches suggested by you.

MikeNV from Henderson, NV on September 10, 2009:

People are natural slouchers and don't pay much attention to posture until they have a problem. Computer work stations are very hard on the body unless they are ergonomically correct. I wrote hub about high end office chairs https://hubpages.com/health/Finding-the-Best-Ergon... that make a huge difference in the way you sit. The good ones actually move with your body. If you have a lot of pain sometimes stretching makes it worse. Massage and warm water showers or hot tubs can really help you loosen up before you stretch.

bengriston on September 10, 2009:

I do have a lot of neck and lower back pain so finding some stretches that will relief this is helpful.

Sexy jonty from India on August 21, 2009:

Very well written hub .....

very much informative ......

Thank you very much for your great hub, for good advice, good wishes and support. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us.

Jen's Solitude from Delaware on May 26, 2009:

Hi, thanks for a great article. I suffer from a disease that causes muscle spasms and spasticity, especially in my neck and shoulders, I look forward to trying these exercises.

~Jen

Standtall-The Activist on May 22, 2009:

thank you!

Iphigenia on April 07, 2009:

This was a really useful read for me - I get neck and shoulder pain as a result of fibromyalgia and your advice about posture when sitting and the stretches helped me today - so I came back to comment (as I had planned to do). Thank you.

Joanie Ruppel from Texas on March 23, 2009:

The older I get the more I appreciate this info. I really need it after a long drive in the car, which it seems I do more of these days that I should. Thanks for the tips.

Dr Post from Rochester, MN on March 07, 2009:

As a chiropractor I have seen my fair share of stiff necks and shoulders with restricted movement. I totally agree that stretching will be an important part in helping with these issues. However, if it has been there too long it may need additional help to "get the ball rolling". I have seen amazing changes with just a few small adjustments of the neck and 1st rib. Whenever the 1st rib is mis-aligned it causes the muscles that start in the neck and go to the shoulder on that side to become extremely tight and causes the shoulder to become restricted. A proper adjustment can go a long way but can help even more if people do stretching to keep things moving and hopefully prevent this from happening in the first place.

earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on March 01, 2009:

I found this hub very useful. I often sit too at my computer. You reminded me to take a break and do some exercises. I feel better already. Bookmark.

Scotty Doc on January 26, 2009:

Well done on a great hub Marisa - you've covered the ground really well with it. I love the Shoulder Swing exercises your recommend and I often advise that my shoulder pain patients do a similar routine on my own shoulder pain website at http://www.jointenterprise.co.uk

Great Hub - Love it

Gordon

Marlene F. from Richmond, Virginia on December 24, 2008:

It is so weird that I came upon this Hub now. I seem to get pain in my neck most in the wintertime from holding myself stiff when I am cold. I am going to try these exercises, and if they work my husband will be so happy because I am always asking him to rub my neck! Thank you!

Kathy Beaman from Vancouver, Washington on October 20, 2008:

Marisa ~ Thank you for sharing this well needed information-it came at the right time. I'm sure your being a dancer, you have much experience in this area to help people. Thank you for this writing this hub. Kathy

megasuite from Illinois on July 30, 2008:

Thanks - very informative!

free_jack from Sonoma, California on July 02, 2008:

Great information. You should make your own Yoga videos if you can, would be great! But that video is good stuff. Thanks.

guidebaba from India on July 02, 2008:

Thank you Marisha. I often have this stiff in my neck. I hope your tips will be helpful.

TheCynosure from India on June 24, 2008:

Thanks !! Stiff neck is one of those usual problems which i face working on a PC for long hours. I will try to keep in my mind all the points you listed.

Janet Jenson on June 04, 2008:

Your point about the chair you sit in is very well taken. Sometimes when I am concertraing at the computer I find myself sort of slipping out of the chair and forgetting to keep the back support in place. A little prevention goes a long ways.

Lifebydesign from Australia on May 22, 2008:

Really useful tips here Marissa. Great you also included not bending your neck back -its so easy to want to do yet not good at all!

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on May 22, 2008:

Marissa, this is really helpful! I've been struggling for about a week, and I am excited to try the stretches. I may have to buy one of those pillows too. Much appreciation, Steph