10-Minute Office Exercises to Relieve Neck, Shoulder and Back Pain

September 10, 2023 / Health
10-Minute Office Exercises to Relieve Neck, Shoulder and Back Pain

Tired of feeling tension in your neck, shoulders and back after long hours at your desk? You’re not alone. Many office workers experience discomfort and pain due to prolonged sitting. The good news is that you can alleviate these issues with a short and effective 10-minute office exercise routine. These exercises can be completed during your break or even spread throughout the day. In just 10 minutes, you can perform a series of office exercises that will help alleviate discomfort and improve your posture.

Benefits of Office Exercises:

By incorporating these office exercises into their daily routine, desk workers can reduce the discomfort they feel while working long hours at a desk, improve their posture, and increase their overall well-being.

  • Convenience: These exercises can be performed right at your desk, requiring minimal space and equipment. The entire routine takes just 8 to 10 minutes to complete and can be easily integrated into a desk worker’s daily schedule, making it a practical choice for maintaining well-being during a busy workday.
  • Neck, Shoulder and Back Relief: The routine includes specific exercises targeting the neck, shoulder and back, areas that often experience tension and pain due to desk work. These exercises help release muscle tension, reduce stiffness, and promote better flexibility.
  • Posture Improvement: Several exercises in the routine focus on enhancing posture by strengthening muscles responsible for maintaining an upright position. Improved posture contributes to reduced discomfort and strain.
  • Upper Body Strength: Exercises like wall push-ups, table inverted rows, and alternative shoulder flexion help desk workers strengthen their upper body muscles, which can become weakened from extended periods of sitting.
  • Stress Reduction: Incorporating these exercises into your workday can provide moments of relaxation and mindfulness, helping to reduce stress and boost overall well-being.
  • Consistency Is Key: While this routine is designed to take just 8-10 minutes, consistency is important. Regularly performing these office exercises can lead to long-term relief and comfort during desk work.

1. Arm Circle (3×15 Sec – 15 Sec Rest)

Arm Circles

Benefits: Arm Circles are a simple yet effective way to work your shoulder muscles and improve shoulder mobility, making it a great choice for office workers who spend long hours at a desk. This exercise involves making circular motions with your arms, which helps to reduce stiffness and promote better blood circulation in the shoulder area.

2. Neck Rotation (3×10 Seconds)

Neck Rotation Stretch

Benefits: The Neck Rotation exercise is an effective way to improve neck flexibility and relieve tension in the neck muscles, which can be especially beneficial for office workers who spend extended periods at their desks. This exercise involves gently turning your head from side to side. Slowly turn your head to the right, bringing your chin towards your shoulder. Hold this position for 10 seconds, feeling a gentle stretch in your neck. Slowly return your head to the center. Repeat the same motion, turning your head to the left and holding for 10 seconds. Ensure that you perform the exercise slowly and gently to avoid straining your neck muscles.

3. Neck Flexion (3×10 Seconds)

Neck Flexion Stretch

Benefits: Neck flexion exercises are essential for desk workers as they target the muscles at the front of the neck. By gently tucking your chin towards your chest for 10 seconds, you release tension and improve the strength of these muscles. This exercise can be particularly beneficial for those who spend long hours looking at computer screens or documents, as it counteracts the strain caused by extended periods of neck extension (looking up or forward). Regular practice of neck flexion exercises can contribute to better neck posture and a reduction in discomfort and pain associated with poor head positioning.

4. Neck Extension (3×10 seconds)

Cooldown Exercises Neck

Benefits: This office exercise involves tilting your head backward, gently stretching and relaxing the muscles at the front of the neck. Spending extended periods with your head in a forward-leaning position can lead to tension and discomfort in the neck. Neck extension exercises help counteract this by promoting flexibility and reducing stiffness. Performing neck extension for 10 seconds can provide quick relief and contribute to better neck mobility. When done regularly, it can aid in maintaining a more comfortable and pain-free posture during desk work.

5. Chin Tuck (3×10 Seconds)

Chin Tuck

Benefits: The chin tuck exercise strengthens the neck muscles and encourages better head posture. Desk workers will find this beneficial for alleviating the forward head posture that often accompanies prolonged desk work.

6. Wall Slides (3×15 Seconds)

wall slide

Benefits: Wall slides improve shoulder mobility and strengthen the upper back. This exercise helps desk workers counteract the hunched posture that can lead to discomfort and pain in the shoulders and upper back.

7. Scapular Protraction and Retraction (3×10 Seconds)

Scapular Protraction and Retraction

Benefits: Desk workers can benefit from scapular protraction and retraction exercises, as they improve scapular mobility. This, in turn, enhances shoulder function and reduces the likelihood of slouching, a common issue among office workers.

8. Alternative Shoulder Flexion (3×10 Seconds)

Back to Wall Alternating Shoulder Flexion

Benefits: Regularly performing this office exercise can promote better posture. Desk workers often experience tension and tightness in the shoulders due to repetitive movements and prolonged sitting. The act of raising your arms in front of you engages your shoulder and upper back muscles, encouraging you to open up your chest and stand or sit more upright.

9. Wall Push-Up (3×15 Seconds)

Wall Push ups

Benefits: This office exercise primarily targets the muscles of the chest and shoulders. Desk workers often exhibit weakened chest and shoulder muscles due to prolonged sitting and slouching. Wall push-ups help strengthen these muscle groups, providing improved upper body strength and support.

10. Table Inverted Row (3×15 Seconds)

Table Inverted Row for bodyweight workout

Benefits: The strengthening of the upper back muscles can contribute to reduced upper back pain, a prevalent issue in office settings. By improving muscle support in this region, desk workers can alleviate discomfort and strain, leading to a more comfortable work experience. Table inverted rows engage multiple muscle groups, providing a well-rounded upper body workout. This office exercise targets the upper back, arms, and even the core to some extent. A balanced upper body workout can contribute to overall physical fitness and well-being.

Finish with Stretching: Doorway Stretch (3×10-15 Seconds)

Doorway chest and sshoulder stretch

This stretching exercise effectively stretches and relaxes the pectoral (chest), latissimus dorsi (lats), and shoulder muscles, which can all become tight and tense from desk work.

Always perform this stretch gently and within your comfort range. Place your hands on the door frame or the walls of the doorway. Gently lean forward, allowing your chest to move closer to the door frame. You should feel a gentle stretch in your chest and the front of your shoulders. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds while maintaining a comfortable breathing rhythm. Relax, step back, and release the stretch

Avoid any forceful or sudden movements, and stop immediately if you experience any discomfort or pain. Stretching should feel relieving, not painful. Repeat this stretch a few times throughout your workday to alleviate upper body tightness and improve posture.


These exercises are intended to be gentle and suitable for most people, but individual experiences can vary. Before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions, concerns about your health, or if you’re unsure about your fitness level, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified fitness trainer.

Remember that these exercises are meant to complement, not replace, any medical advice or treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. Always prioritize your well-being and health when incorporating new exercises into your routine.

Posted by
Alexandra Botez
As a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE), Alexandra's professional mission is to provide effective training and empower individuals to lead healthier, happier lives. She believes that everyone has the potential to lead a healthier, happier life, and she strives to unlock that potential in each person she works with.