A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

What a pain in the neck literally! (VIDEO)

Relieve neck pain from poor posture and routine work with stretches and exercises provided by Donna Fetting, Marshfield Clinic physical therapist.

Eight easy stretches are demonstrated in this video. Continue reading for tips on good posture.


Video: Complete one exercise or stretch each hour for one to two minutes. Focus on good posture by keeping your spine and neck in neutral positions. This is the healthiest position for our bodies while we sit and work.

Download and print these stretches to keep a weekly log in your work area.

Neck pain has many causes

It can result from past injuries like sprains or strains of neck muscles and ligaments, or be more mechanical, when joints don’t move properly.

Different types of work can affect neck pain, too, Fetting said.

“For example, people who sit at a desk all week may not be maintaining good posture,” she said. “Having your hands forward on a keyboard or phone, or letting your head rest in front of your shoulders can lead to ‘forward head’ posture and cause neck pain.”

Forward head might be described as “slumping.” If you make a line from your ears to your shoulder and it isn’t straight, you likely have forward head posture (FHP).

Neutral alignment and good posture

Maintaining neutral alignment of the spine is important for the neck and back.

“We have stretches and exercises like a shoulder blade squeeze that can help maintain neutral alignment,” Fetting said. “Sometimes these exercises look more like back or shoulder exercises, but they also positively impact the neck.”

Good sitting posture includes:

  • Ears over shoulders.
  • Relaxed shoulders – don’t hike them up.
  • Neutral spine position – not too arched or slumped.
  • Supported low back as needed.
  • Feet on the floor or foot rest under desk.

Additional sitting tips:

  • Alternate sitting at the front of your chair, feet on the floor, legs taking some weight, with sitting toward the back of your chair.
  • Use lumbar support to keep your spine in neutral.
  • Use an external cue such as a phone ringing or an incoming email alert, to remind yourself to re-check your sitting posture.

*These exercises may not be appropriate for everyone. If you are suffering from neck pain because of a previous injury, a physical therapist can help create a treatment plan specific to your needs.

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One Response
  1. Mar 19, 2016

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