The chances that you are reading this article on a handheld device (phone or tablet) are very high. Now that we caught you in the act, take a second to acknowledge your posture. Are you craned forward, hanging your neck in an uncomfortable position? Are you slouching your shoulders and rounding your back? These are the telltale positions of a person with tech neck, and it’s a serious issue.
According to several studies, the average person looks at their phone for five hours a day. Many chiropractors explain that they’ve seen an increase in the amount of people with neck pain. Additionally, researchers at Harvard Medical Health estimate that seven out of ten people will experience neck aches at some point in life.
To put it bluntly, tech neck wrecks your neck. The pressure compresses and tightens muscles, tendons, and ligament structures in the front of the neck. It also lengthens these structures in the back of the neck. Ultimately, this constant strain on both the front and back of the neck creates unending neck pain. Luckily, you can engage in stretches, like the following yoga poses, that help relieve this common neck pain.
Note: These yoga poses will note cure the problem, but they can help relieve pain. Ultimately, spend less time looking down at devices to avoid pain.
This pose works to stretch the neck and hamstrings, so you’ll help relieve neck pain and hip tension, which results from sitting all day. Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart. Fold forward slowly, hinging at the hips, and let your arms fall towards the floor. If you can touch the ground, rest your palms on the ground. If you cannot touch the ground, rest your hands on your shins. Try to keep the legs straight if you can, but you can bend the knees if necessary. Hold this pose for five deep breaths.
This pose aims to enhance flexibility, but it also encourages muscle strengthening, which helps maintain neck mobility. Begin in a tabletop position with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Bring the forearms to the floor and spread your fingers wide. Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the mat. Try to walk your feet forward to a comfortable position where you feel a stretch. This position is like Downward Dog, but you keep the forearms on the floor. Press your heels and forearms into the ground and remain in the position for five to ten deep breaths.
Supporting the natural curvature of the lower back, this pose can help relieve tension in neck, back, and abdominal muscles. Lie on your stomach and keep your legs together. Place your forearms on the mat with your elbows by your armpits. Press up and lift your chest off the floor. Press the tops of your hips, thighs, and feet into the mat and think about lengthening your spine. Hold this pose for five deep breaths.
Supported Fish Pose
If you need a pose that is designed to reverse the effects of poor posture, it’s this pose. You can use a pillow or yoga block to support the natural curvature of the spine. Sit on your mat with your knees bent and your feet on the floor in front of you. Place a pillow or medium yoga block right behind you. Walk your hands back to lower yourself slowly onto the pillow or block. You should be able to rest comfortably without pain. Let your arms fall out to the sides. You can let your knees fall out as well, or you can keep them bent and facing up. Make sure to keep your buttocks on the ground the entire time and remain in this position for ten deep breaths.
Wall Chest Stretch
When you can ease tension in the chest and shoulder region, you’ll be one step closer to pain relief from tech neck. Everyone has done this stretch at one point in time. Stand one foot away from a wall or pole and make sure you’re in a neutral stance facing the wall. Heel-toe your feet hip-distance apart and reach back to place your right hand on the wall or pole. Gently twist your torso away from the wall until you feel a stretch in the right pectoral. Breathe deeply for five to ten breaths and then repeat on the other side.
Take that lump out of your back by opening up the chest, throat, and upper back. Start in a kneeling position on your mat with your knees hip-distance apart. Place your palms on your lower back and make sure your fingers are facing up. Squeeze the shoulder blades together as you inhale. Lift your chest and come into a backbend. You can keep your hands on your lower back and lean back as far back as you comfortable can. If you can go deeper, place your hands on your heels, open the chest, and tilt the chin up. Hold this pose for five deep breaths.