Singing with Neck Tension : Your Health with Dr. Jahn

Dr. Jahn,

Do you have a suggestion on the best way to release neck tension?

I can’t afford to go to the chiropractor or masseuse on a regular basis. Any other suggestions?

Thank you!

Peter T.


Dear Peter,

Let’s assume that there is no structural cause for your neck tension.

By this, I mean that you don’t have any problem with your neck vertebrae or discs, rather that this is just tension caused by how you “use” your neck. You should first consider whether you are consciously doing something that can cause excess contraction of the neck muscles. This could include things such as weight lifting, or carrying a heavy backpack or shoulder bag. If you do either of these, reconsider what you do. For example, if exercise related, you might consider smaller weights with more reps. If it’s your backpack or shoulder bag, remove some heavier items (for singers, usually scores or laptops). Loosen the straps on your back pack, and let it rest on your lower back (the lumbosacral curve area), not your shoulders.

You should also consider stretching several times a day, rotating your head and pointing your chin towards either shoulder, looking up and down. In a more fundamental way, you should look into the Alexander technique or yoga, to reset how you posture your neck, and you correct your head, neck, and torso alignment.

I am generally not a fan of habitual visits to either the physical therapist, the chiropractor or the acupuncturist, since these treatments only address the result, and not the cause, of your problem.

Dr. Jahn


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Anthony Jahn, M.D.

Anthony Jahn M.D. is an otolaryngologist with a subspecialty interest in ear diseases, disorders of hearing and balance, and disorders of the voice. He is a professor of clinical otolaryngology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is a noted author of The Care of the Professional Voice. For more resources, go to his website