How can you best relieve neck tension?


Neck tension are painful changes in the muscles due to increased muscle tension (= muscle tone) in the context of long-term stress. The neck muscles harden and are perceived by those affected as very unpleasant pain, which can manifest itself as both pressure pain and pain when moving. It is not uncommon for this pain to radiate to the neck and shoulder. Reasons for such neck tension can be increased stress, poor posture, overstretching, heavy one-sided carrying, blockages of the cervical spine or stress. The neck muscles are stressed in every way in everyday life, so that they are very prone to tension.

Read more about this at:

  • Neck tension
  • Cervical spine syndrome - this is how you will be helped!
  • Relax your neck

What are the options?

The range of treatments for neck tension offers many different options. The therapeutic approaches in which way the tension can be released vary greatly. Some options also have more of a preventive aspect. The release of neck tension can be realized by the following measures:

  • Sports (strength training, Nordic walking, cross trainer, swimming)
  • Home remedies (heat therapy, ergonomics, substances such as comfrey, eucalyptus, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, etc.)
  • acupuncture
  • Osteopathy
  • yoga
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Homeopathic therapeutic approaches (Nux vomica, Causticum Hahnemanni, Rhus toxicodendron, Bryonia etc.)
  • Schüssler salts (Calcium phosphoricum and Magnesium phosphoricum)
  • Massages
  • Black roll
  • Heat therapy (infrared lamp, cherry stone pillow, etc.)
  • Medication (Finalgon ointment)

Those affected can freely choose between these options as they please and find the best therapy for themselves.

Which exercises work best?

To prevent neck tension in the first place, there are a few preventive measures that should be observed and applied. These include an ergonomic neck posture, sufficient exercise and strengthening the neck muscles through strength training.

If the neck tension is already manifest, those affected can choose between a variety of options. Which variant or exercise is ultimately the best is a personal decision. Some people prefer measures that require them to be less active themselves, such as acupuncture, osteopathy, progressive muscle relaxation, or massage. Others, on the other hand, try to relieve their neck tension with exercise in the form of strength training, the use of the black roll or yoga. Each body responds differently well or badly to the various exercises or treatment measures. Those affected should find out the best exercises for themselves according to their own taste.

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Release tension through weight training

The neck muscles are constantly stressed in everyday life: At work, during leisure activities, but also with any head movement. Therefore, the neck muscles are particularly prone to tension due to poor posture or excessive strain of various kinds.

With the help of strength training it is possible to develop the neck and shoulder muscles so well that they are sufficiently durable and resilient. Well trained neck and shoulder muscles ensure a better and more stable posture, especially in the neck area. As a result, those affected adopt less incorrect posture, which would lead to secondary tension. For strength training of the neck muscles, there are different devices and equipment for device-free training in almost every fitness studio. However, the neck muscles must be trained to a certain extent. Too intense strength training with too short recovery breaks can in turn lead to sore muscles or tension in the neck.

You can find exercises for the neck here: Neck muscle training

Relieve tension through sport

The release of neck tension can be done very well through exercise. There are sports that are more or less suitable or have different approaches to treating neck tension. Weight training is more of a preventive measure, as well-trained neck muscles are less susceptible and more resilient, making the occurrence of neck pain less likely.

In contrast to pure strength training, sports such as swimming and Nordic walking rather aim at dynamic stress and improved mobility of the neck - but also shoulder muscles. In Nordic walking, for example, the arms are swung dynamically, which requires both the neck and shoulder muscles to work. This light stress stretches and loosens the muscle culture to a certain extent, so that there is less tension. The "cross trainer" fitness machine is based on the same principle, since the arms are also moved here. Through sport, those affected should ultimately integrate more exercise into everyday life in order to offer their own body a balance to constant stress and possible bad posture.

Cross trainer

As already explained, sport to the right degree and with a suitable type of sport can be helpful to relieve neck tension, but also to reduce the risk so that the tension does not develop in the first place. The cross trainer as a well-known fitness device is particularly suitable for this. The reason for this is that the cross trainer not only requires footwork, but also actively involves the arms. The arms are swung in synchronicity with the running movement without putting too much strain on them. The neck and shoulders are rather stretched. The pendulum motion of the arms can therefore cause the shoulder and neck muscles to relax during moderate activity.

Relieve tension with home remedies

There is no need to resort to medication directly to treat neck tension. Rather, one should first use the good old home remedies. Heat therapy is particularly effective. For this purpose, those affected can, for example, put a warming cherry stone pillow on their neck or take a hot shower and direct the jet towards the tense neck muscles. A soothing bath with the addition of lavender and / or rosamarine can also loosen tense neck muscles. The additives have a relaxing and anti-inflammatory effect on the muscles.

In order to keep the tense neck muscles warm in everyday life, wearing scarves or shawls is suitable. This also serves as protection against drafts in order to prevent the recurrence of tension. An ergonomic posture is very important in everyday life but also at night. Therefore, attention should be paid to the choice of pillow and the sitting posture at the workplace. Apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, ginger, barley grass and peppermint oil are also tried and tested home remedies. These substances have an anti-inflammatory and, in some cases, pain-relieving and relaxing. The application in the neck is therefore very well suited to loosen tense neck muscles again. Materials that promote blood circulation such as comfrey or eucalyptus are also helpful in relieving neck tension.

Relieve tension through acupuncture

In principle, neck tension can be relieved using a traditional Chinese therapeutic measure, acupuncture. It should be said, however, that the desired effectiveness does not occur in all those affected. In general, however, the majority respond to acupuncture and benefit from the pain-relieving and tension-relieving effects.

At the beginning of each treatment, a conversation takes place between the doctor and the patient in an initial appointment in order to record the symptoms more precisely and to identify possible causes. In a further session, acupuncture is performed using fine, sterile needles at specific points in the neck, shoulder and head area. According to the understanding of Chinese medicine, these points lie along paths that flow through the whole body and represent the flow of life energy (Qi). The average dwell time for acupuncture needles is around 30 minutes. The duration can vary depending on the complexity of the neck tension. For acute neck tension, just a few treatments are sufficient; for chronic tension conditions, several sessions are necessary. As with other alternative medical treatment approaches or healing practices such as osteopathy, the coverage of costs by the health insurance company must be clarified in advance. About 10 sessions are usually covered by the health insurance.

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Release tension through osteopathy

Osteopathy as an independent medicine follows the principle that incorrect regulation, for example in the form of neck tension, can be compensated by the body itself. With the help of various mobilization exercises by an osteopath, it is very possible to resolve neck tension. These exercises are all performed manually, i.e. with the osteopath's hands. This is why osteopathy is also known as manual medicine. At the beginning, however, there is always an assessment of the overall picture. In the case of neck tension, osteopaths analyze whether there is a bad posture both when standing and when sitting. A detailed anamnesis is also part of osteopathy. Then painful tension is detected by palpating the neck and shoulder area. This can then be solved very well with certain hand movements. Osteopathy is used more and more to treat neck pain and is a good alternative to any other therapeutic measure. Whether the costs for treatment by an osteopath will also be covered can vary depending on the health insurance company or the severity of the neck tension. Those affected should therefore inquire in advance about possible reimbursement of costs from their health insurance company.

Read more about this at: Osteopathy

Release tension through yoga

Neck tension can be relieved well through yoga. A variety of yoga exercises make it possible to stretch and loosen tense muscles, so that the symptoms of neck tension are effectively relieved. Another positive effect is the fact that the regular practice of yoga exercises means that the affected neck muscles are trained and thus the development of neck tension can be prevented. Yoga can be done as part of private classes or gym programs, but it can also be done easily at home. Most of these exercises against neck tension can also be carried out as a short session of a few minutes during the lunch break directly at the workplace, since most of the exercises can easily be performed while sitting. When performing the exercises, those affected should relax, let go of all stress and bring their own breathing into harmony with the movements. A loosening of the tense neck muscles can often already be felt after such a short exercise session. In general, however, yoga should be done regularly in order to achieve a long-term improvement in the symptoms of neck tension.

Relieve tension through progressive muscle relaxation

The nowadays widespread and widely used training for progressive muscle relaxation according to Edmund Jacobsen can also be helpful in relieving the complaints in the case of neck tension. The aim is to achieve awareness of your own muscle tone, i.e. the degree of muscle tension, through a controlled and considered tensing and relaxing of the muscles. So it is possible for those affected to release the neck tension by reducing the muscle tension. With enough experience, progressive muscle relaxation exercises can also be used to even prevent neck tension.

Read more about this at: Progressive Muscle Relaxation


Relief of neck tension is also possible with the help of alternative medical therapy approaches of homeopathy. Overall, there is a large number of homeopathic remedies that can help with different symptoms.

In the case of neck tension, Nux vomica, Causticum Hahnemanni, Rhus toxicodendron, Bryonia and Dulcamara are particularly suitable. The agents mentioned develop their effects in various areas of application. What they all have in common is the effect on the limbs in case of tension or pain, so that they can be used very well to relieve neck tension.

The homeopathic remedies mentioned are usually taken in the form of "globules", i.e. small balls. The dosage can vary depending on the severity of the neck tension. For the acute phase, it is usual to take 5 globules three times a day. The Schüssler salts are also considered to be homeopathic remedies. There are also certain salts that are suitable for treating neck tension. It is generally not advisable to take homeopathic remedies alone to resolve neck pain. Instead, it makes sense to pursue additional therapeutic approaches or to integrate them into the treatment plan. This enables faster healing.

Schüssler salts

The Schüssler salts are various mineral salts that are used in different areas of medicine.

The Schüssler salts No. 2 "Calcium phosphoricum" and No. 7 "Magnesium phosphoricum" are particularly suitable for treating neck tension. Calcium phosphoricum is an agent that plays a crucial role in building bones. Another well-known effect is a positive effect in the form of relieving neck tension. Magnesium phosphoricum, on the other hand, focuses equally on bones, nerves and muscles, so that its use is very effective for tension in the neck area.


Massages are very suitable for relieving tension in the neck muscles. However, a single massage does not relieve the discomfort immediately. It is therefore important in the acute phase to massage the tense neck muscles regularly, i.e. several times a week for about 30 to 60 minutes. This is the only way to achieve the goal of effective stretching and loosening of the neck muscles. Through various hand movements such as kneading, tapping or rubbing, the blood circulation is increased in the affected area, which activates the body's own healing processes. It is best to massage on painful trigger points or over hardened areas. Incidentally, not only the neck should be directly involved in the massage, but also the muscles in the shoulder area. The reason for this is the fact that a heavy load on the shoulder can cause pain and tension to affect the neck area. Those affected can either have a second person massage them or lend a hand themselves. In the meantime, there are also external aids that can be used for massages for tense neck muscles. Such neck massagers are available in different designs with different functions. If necessary, those affected should seek professional advice. Another possibility for a massage of the neck muscles is the use of a so-called Black Roll®, a fascia roll for self-massage.


The so-called BlackRoll® is a fascia roll that is used in various sports medicine areas. It plays an important role in muscular matters such as tension. The name BlackRoll® is the manufacturer's name; However, due to its high level of popularity, it is now often used as a general term for the fascia roll.

The Black Roll® fulfills a massaging function on the fascia, i.e. on the connective tissue coverings of all muscles in our body. For the spine area, including the neck area, there is a specially modified BlackRoll®, the so-called Duo-Ball. Here two balls are connected via a narrow middle piece, which is intended as a recess for the vertebral bodies. To perform the massaging exercises, those affected should stand against a wall and place the Duo Ball on the neck. Then the tense muscles can be massaged by moving up and down. Thus, after regular use, a large-scale relaxation of the tense neck muscles can be achieved. For a selective massage over a clearly localizable point in the neck area, a simple ball is also suitable instead of the duo ball. Here the self-massage takes place at certain painful trigger points. In general, the whole thing can also be done lying down. Those affected lie on their backs and position the Black Roll between the floor and neck. It is recommended to use it twice a day for several minutes. Morning and evening are suitable times.

Read here about: Fascia training

Does magnesium help?

Among other things, magnesium is there to ensure that energy (in the form of ATP) is available for the muscles to work. Only in this way can the muscles be tensed and relaxed again without any problems. Otherwise it can lead to cramps and tension. Magnesium is normally adequately absorbed through the diet. Whole grain products, nuts, whole milk and dark chocolate in particular contain a lot of magnesium. Suffering from painful neck tension, apart from severe stress or poor posture, a magnesium deficiency may be behind it. Therefore, taking magnesium can be helpful in relieving the symptoms. This can be done in the form of tablets or dragees or soluble effervescent tablets.


Heat therapy is always suitable for relieving neck tension. A local application of heat leads to an expansion of the vessels and thus to an increased blood flow. This enables the body's own healing processes to be stimulated and the tension in the neck muscles to be released. The way in which the heat therapy is carried out can vary according to one's own taste and available means.

The so-called Finalgon® ointment is available for medication. This is rubbed into the skin over the tense neck muscles. In addition, those affected can use an infrared lamp to generate heat radiation on the neck. However, it is not absolutely necessary to have such a lamp. Those affected can also easily make do with a cherry stone pillow or a hot water bottle and place them on the neck. A warming scarf or patch is ideal for on the go. In contrast to the Finalgon® ointment, the heat patches work without any active pharmaceutical ingredients and only contain water, salt, iron powder and activated carbon.

Infrared lamp

With the help of an infrared lamp, it is possible to effectively relieve neck tension. Through so-called infrared radiation, heat is generated at the point of the neck that is exposed to radiation, i.e. optimally on the skin directly above the tense neck muscles. One advantage of the infrared lamp is that it can be used in a targeted manner. The infrared beam of the lamp can be aligned according to individual needs and thus penetrates into the deep layers of the tense neck muscles. The warmth promotes increased blood flow, which stimulates the body's own healing processes and ultimately loosens the neck muscles. In general, it is recommended to use it twice a day for about 20 minutes each time. The duration can of course vary individually depending on the severity of the neck tension.


Finalgon® is a blood circulation-promoting (= hyperaemic) ointment that has been on the market since 1951. The main area of ​​application of Finalgon® ointment is muscle tension, especially in the back and neck muscles. The vasodilator effect of the ointment increases blood circulation in the corresponding region. This also has a warming effect. This mechanism of action is therefore often used to relieve neck tension, as it ensures effective relaxation of the muscles. Two different products are currently available: "Finalgon CPD Warming Cream®" and "Finalgon Warming Cream DUO®". The first mentioned ointment contains capsaicinoids as an active ingredient; the other product contains nonivamid and nicoboxil. In general, both have an equivalent benefit, but the Finalgon Warming Cream DUO® has an even stronger warming effect, so that the effect can also be developed in deep muscle layers. Those affected can easily rub the affected neck muscles with Finalgon®. It is important that the hands are washed well afterwards so that the effect does not spread to the hands or other unintended areas with which one has come into contact.