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Alexa Mikhail

5 easy exercises to relieve neck pain in under 5 minutes

Over half of Americans believe they are addicted to their phones. On average, Americans check their phones nearly 150 times per day with an overwhelming majority (89%) saying they check their device within the first 10 minutes of waking up, per one recent survey conducted by

And from working from home with a not-so-ergonomically-friendly setup to texting on the go, many of us fail to maintain good posture. The neck is often the unfortunate victim—cue, text neck. 

Since working from home, a survey in 2020 found 92% percent of chiropractors reported seeing increased neck and back pain and musculoskeletal issues in their patients, per the American Chiropractic Association. The weight on the head from looking down at a screen can cause certain muscles to work in overdrive, says Dr. Laurent Delavaux, a neck and pain expert for Hackensack Meridian JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in New Jersey. 

But easy on-the-go exercises that you can do in under three minutes can help release neck strain and “change your life,” according to Dan Go, a personal trainer and founder who works with entrepreneurs on health and wellness changes. He also writes a newsletter titled, The High Performance Journal.

“The neck is one of the most important parts of your body,” Go shares in a recent Twitter post. “It moves & protects your head while improving overall mobility but it gets stiff after sitting for long periods of time.”

5 neck exercises you can do in under 5 minutes 

Go recommends doing each of the following exercises for 15 seconds:

  1. Turn your head slowly to the right and to the left (but not too far to cause pain)
  1.  Place both hands on your chest, then lift your head up and down 
  1. Keep your hands on your chest and tilt your head to each side so your ear faces upward
  1. Retract your head in, and then push your head forward away from your body 
  1. Lastly, is the “Janet Jackson exercise.” Slide your neck from side to side as you keep your eyes forward. Try doing this one in front of a mirror

Delavaux says these exercises can indeed release neck pain and strain because they can help engage other muscles and release the tension on the head. 

“It is very important to keep this range of motion so that the muscles have the ability to work correctly through their entire length. Anytime we stay in one position for too long we are making muscles work in only one position [and] length,” Delavaux says. “This is what contributes to overuse injury, scarring and tightness of the muscles.”

Exercises like Go’s are a great start, Delavaux says. But additionally, he recommends focusing on improving posture throughout the day. Place your computer on a raised surface, so you can keep your eyes looking straight ahead, and keep your feet planted on the floor when sitting. Rolling the shoulders back periodically can help you remember to focus on your posture and re-engage your muscles. 

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