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Neck Stiffness Can Be A Sign Of Stress: 10 Ways To Relieve It Naturally

Do you experience neck stiffness after a long day at work? Here’s what you can do to ease the pain, as per a doctor. 

Tenzin Chodon
Written by: Tenzin ChodonUpdated at: May 17, 2023 09:30 IST
Neck Stiffness Can Be A Sign Of Stress: 10 Ways To Relieve It Naturally

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A long stressful day can sometimes put pressure on your neck. If you have a desk job, it could be worse. According to a 2016 study published in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine, a high one-year prevalence of Work-Related Neck Pain (WRNP) was reported among desk job workers. It was found that the burden was higher among females as compared to males. The research found that the most common factor was 'computer use' for more than four to six hours. 

Speaking with Only My Health, Dr Veerendra Mudnoor, MS (Ortho), FIJR, FIAS, Joint Replacement and Arthroscopy surgeon, Apollo Clinic, Hyderabad, discusses ways to relieve stress-related neck stiffness. 

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How To Relieve Neck Tightness And Pain

Dr Mudnoor said, “Neck stiffness caused by stress can be a common ailment that affects many individuals. It can lead to discomfort, reduced mobility, and overall tension. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to relieve neck stiffness and promote relaxation.” These include:


The doctor recommends performing gentle neck stretches to release tension in the muscles. “Slowly tilt your head from side to side, forward and backward, and rotate it in a circular motion,” he guided.

Heat therapy

You can also apply a warm compress or take a warm shower to relax the muscles and increase blood circulation in the neck area, Dr Mudnoor says. 

Cold therapy

Apart from heat therapy, you can also indulge in cold therapy. Take an ice pack wrapped in a cloth and apply it to the affected area for 15 minutes, the doctor advised. This can help reduce inflammation and numb the pain.


Gently massage your neck and shoulders in circular motions or seek professional massage therapy. This can help alleviate muscle tension and promote relaxation, according to the doctor.

Relaxation techniques

One can also practise deep breathing exercises, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to calm their mind and reduce overall stress levels.

Posture correction

It is also important to maintain good posture while sitting and standing to prevent additional strain on your neck muscles. The doctor advised us to use ergonomic chairs or pillows for better support. 

Exercise regularly

Engage in physical activities like walking, swimming, or yoga to improve overall flexibility, strengthen muscles, and reduce stress levels.

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Take breaks

According to the doctor, if you work long hours at a desk or computer, take regular breaks to stretch your neck and shoulders, allowing them to relax and rejuvenate. 

Get quality sleep

Ensure you have a comfortable pillow and mattress, and practise good sleep hygiene. Sufficient restorative sleep can help reduce stress and prevent muscle stiffness.

Stay hydrated

Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to keep your muscles and tissues hydrated, promoting flexibility and reducing stiffness.


Neck tension and stiffness can occur in anyone, especially someone who suffers from a lot of stress. Exercising, getting enough sleep, correcting your posture, and getting regular massages can help ease the pain. However, remember to consult an orthopaedic surgeon if your neck stiffness persists or worsens.