How to Stretch Head Muscles to Relieve Tightness

Your workout may be causing neck pain.

Your workout may be causing neck pain.

Strength training, time spent in front of a computer and stress are just some of the possible causes of tightness in your neck and head. Along with tension headaches, the stiffness can lead to restless nights, poor posture and injuries, such as muscle pulls and tears in the shoulders and neck. Regularly performing stretches that involve the head and neck can help to alleviate any discomfort.

Flexion Stretch

Sit or stand tall with your shoulders pressing down away from your ears. Elongate your spine to be straight.

Tilt your head forward to bring your chin to your chest. You should feel the stretch on the back of your neck.

Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then lift your head back to starting position. Repeat for a total of six repetitions.

Extension Stretch

Sit tall in a chair with your back supported by the backrest. Engage your abdominal muscles for stability and press your shoulder blades down your back.

Lift your head and bend it back until your eyes are looking straight up at the ceiling. You should feel a stretch in the front of your neck.

Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Repeat for a total of six repetitions.

Ear-to-Shoulder Stretch

Sit on the edge of a chair with your spine elongated and your shoulders pressing down away from your ears. Pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine to protect your lower back.

Tilt your head to the right to bring the right ear to the shoulder. The stretch should be felt from the left side of your neck down to the shoulder. Place your right hand on your head just above the left ear. Gently pull on your head to deepen the stretch.

Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Remove your hand and gently tilt your head back to center. Repeat on the other side.

Items you will need

  • Chair


  • Always stretch gently. Avoid any tugging or pulling on your head or neck during the exercises.
  • Inhale and exhale slowly through your nose while stretching.


  • Consult a physician regarding any pain felt in your neck, shoulders or head.

About the Author

Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.

Photo Credits

  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images