Worsley also collected 78 England caps and made three appearances for the British & Irish Lions in 2009 but while he was part of Martin Johnson's provisional World Cup squad, he did not make the trip to New Zealand.
"Last season I suffered an injury to my neck that has effectively ended my career," said Worsley, who won the RBS 6 Nations in 2001 and 2003.
"Re-starting contact work during the England World Cup camp made it obvious that I could not continue.
"Since March I have been following medical and rehab advice but it hasn't helped.
"My life as a rugby player started at Welwyn under-9s and finished in an England training session - I want to say thanks to everyone who helped me on that path. I'm proud of what I achieved and how I played the game."
Meanwhile Johnson who played against Worsley at club level but together for England was quick to pay tribute to the ex-flanker known as the 'treecutter' for his tackling ability.
"It's sad for Joe that he has had to retire because of injury. He was a great teammate and always gave 100 per cent for England and Wasps in winning every trophy available," said Johnson.
"On behalf of the England squad we wish him well and hope that he is just as successful after rugby."