Working at a desk for several hours at a time or spending a lot of time looking at your phone can be a real pain in the neck – literally. Without even realizing it, the time you spend looking down at screens could add up to painful problems that may affect your posture. Hanging your head puts as much as 50 pounds of strain on your bones and muscles, yanking your shoulders, straining your neck, and causing headaches.
A repeated and prolonged “head-forward” posture can lead to several painful conditions that may have long-term effects on your spine. Injuries and conditions associated with tech neck include muscle strain, pinched nerves, arthritis in the neck, and degenerative neck changes.
This Monday, make a point to be aware of how long you’re looking down and follow a few tips on avoiding tech neck!
Take breaks. It might be a lot to ask for social media addicts, but it’s important to limit the amount of time spent scrolling on your phone. You don’t have to quit your apps, but pay attention to how long you’ve been looking down. Try to take breaks every 15-20 minutes – set a timer if that helps – and in between looking back, stretch your neck and check in with your posture.
Stretch. Several stretches will alleviate the pain and reverse the damage done from spending too much time on the phone or in front of a computer. Tilting the head slowly from side to side, down towards the shoulders, is one easy stretch that can be done anywhere. Other stretches, like chin tucks, chest stretches, and upper back release will not only ease pain but build strength in the muscles affected by tech neck.
Do exercises. By doing a few simple moves inspired by yoga and pilates, which both focus on core strength and posture, you can correct tech neck and build more strength in addition to the stretches described above. Floor exercises such as Cobra, Locust Pose, and Upward Dog all help to realign your spine and the muscles that become strained after too much time looking at screens. Even better – you can use these moves as a warm-up for a higher-impact workout!
This Monday, take some steps to make your week less of a pain in the neck! Your body will thank you in the long run, meaning pain-free Mondays in the future!