Tension Headache Relief: Effective Neck Stretches-Best Of 2023

(Last Updated On: June 18, 2023)


Dealing with tension headaches can be debilitating, affecting our daily lives and overall well-being. One effective way to alleviate the discomfort and prevent tension headaches is through neck stretches. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind tension headaches, delve into the benefits of neck stretches, present the top 10 stretches for tension headaches with their descriptions, discuss preventive measures, and conclude with the importance of incorporating these techniques into your routine.

Why We Get Tension Headaches:

Tension headaches are often caused by muscle tension and stress in the neck and shoulders. Poor posture, long periods of sitting, and repetitive movements contribute to the build-up of tension in these areas. Additionally, stress, anxiety, and emotional factors can exacerbate the muscle tension, leading to tension headaches.

How Neck Stretches Help with Tension Headaches:

Neck stretches are beneficial for relieving tension headaches as they help relax the muscles, increase blood circulation, and reduce stress. These stretches can improve flexibility, release muscle tension, and alleviate the pressure on nerves, providing relief from headaches.

Top 10 Neck Stretches for Tension Headaches:

1. Chin Tucks:

Gently retract your chin, creating a double chin-like position, and hold for 5-10 seconds.


  • Relieves neck and upper back tension, improves posture


  • May be challenging for individuals with limited neck mobility

2. Neck Rolls:

Slowly roll your neck in a circular motion, first clockwise and then counterclockwise, for 15-20 seconds.


  • Relieves muscle tension, improves neck mobility.


  • Avoid if you experience dizziness or discomfort

3. Shoulder Shrugs:

Lift your shoulders towards your ears, hold for a few seconds, and then relax. Repeat 10 times.


  • Reduces tension in the neck and shoulder muscles


  • Avoid if you have shoulder injuries or pain

4. Side-to-Side Neck Stretch:

Tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder, and hold for 15-20 seconds. Repeat on the other side.


  • Relieves tension in the neck and upper back


  • Perform gently and avoid if you have neck injuries

5. Forward Bend:

Gently bend your neck forward, bringing your chin towards your chest, and hold for 15-20 seconds.


  • Stretches the back of the neck and upper back, relieves tension


  • Avoid if it causes discomfort or dizziness

6. Upper Trapezius Stretch: Place one hand behind your back, reach the other hand over your head, and gently pull your head to the side until you feel a stretch. Hold for 15-20 seconds on each side.


  • Targets the trapezius muscles, reduces tension headaches


  • Perform with caution and avoid if you experience pain

7. Levator Scapulae Stretch: Bring your chin towards your chest and turn your head to one side, placing your hand on the back of your head. Gently pull your head further down towards your armpit until you feel a stretch. Hold for 15-20 seconds on each side.


  • Relieves tension in the neck and shoulders.


  • Avoid if it causes pain or discomfort.

8. Scalene Stretch:

Sit or stand tall, place one hand on your collarbone, and tilt your head to the opposite side. Gently apply pressure with your hand to enhance the stretch. Hold for 15-20 seconds on each side


  • Targets the scalene muscles, reduces tension in the neck


  • Perform with caution and avoid if it causes pain.

9. Eagle Arms Stretch: Extend

your arms in front of you, cross one arm over the other, and bend your elbows. Press your palms together and lift your elbows, feeling a stretch in your upper back and shoulders. Hold for 15-20 seconds.


  • Relieves tension in the shoulders, upper back, and neck


  • Avoid if you have shoulder or arm injuries.

10. Cat-Camel Stretch:

Get down on all fours, arch your back towards the ceiling, and tuck your chin towards your chest. Then, drop your belly towards the floor, lift your head, and look forward. Repeat this motion 10 times.


  • Promotes flexibility and relieves tension in the neck and spine


  • Avoid if you have lower back issues or pain.

I have also done a detailed review on the top 10 the best neck massager you can find on internet

What to Do to Avoid Tension Headaches:

To prevent tension headaches, consider the following strategies:
1. Maintain Good Posture:

Sit and stand with a straight back, keeping your neck and shoulders aligned. Avoid slouching and maintain proper ergonomics while working or studying.

2. Take Regular Breaks:

If you spend long hours in front of a computer or engaged in any sedentary activity, take frequent breaks to stretch your neck and shoulders. Incorporate gentle movements and exercises to release tension.

3. Manage Stress:

Practice stress-management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and regular exercise. Engaging in activities that promote relaxation can significantly reduce the occurrence of tension headaches.


Neck stretches offer a natural and effective way to relieve tension headaches and promote overall neck health. By incorporating these stretches into your daily routine and adopting preventive measures, you can reduce muscle tension, alleviate headaches, and enhance your overall well-being. Remember to perform the stretches with caution, listen to your body, and consult a healthcare professional if you experience persistent or severe headaches. With consistent effort and mindful care, you can achieve lasting relief from tension headaches and enjoy a healthier, pain-free life.

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