Do You Have "Text Neck?" Relieve Neck Tension with These 5 Stretches
It’s undeniable that many of us are chained to our phones. We use them for work, to connect with others, and to keep up with all the latest hot gossip and news. In many ways, we’ve become entirely reliant on them.
But what happens when you start to experience the dreaded “text neck”?
If you’ve ever found yourself engulfed in your phone for hours (or even minutes at a time), you may have noticed tension or pain in your neck or shoulders. You might crane your neck forward to get a better view of your phone, which likely only increases these feelings of tension. In fact, maybe you’re doing it right now.
It’s time to take note! And also time to fix this awful habit. If you don’t (or if you’ve already been doing this for any length of time), you might end up experiencing “text neck.”
In this article, we will dive into exactly what text neck is and how to fix it.
What Does Text Neck Look Like?
Text neck isn’t all about how you feel. It actually produces an unsightly posture as well. Basically, your neck protrudes forward, placing a ton of stress on your neck and shoulder muscles and tissues.
In fact, for every inch, your neck protrudes forward. This can increase the load on your neck by ten pounds or more. And the truth is that your neck is in no way made for this kind of strain! Pain is inevitable, which may only worsen as you age.
But how do you even know if you have text neck in the first place? Here are some text neck symptoms you’ll want to watch out for:
- Pain in the neck, upper back, or shoulders.
- Forward head posture and rounding of your shoulders.
- Decreased neck or shoulder mobility.
- Increased frequency and intensity of headaches.
- Increased pain when flexing the neck.
If you notice any of these, it might be a good idea to get checked out by your local physiotherapist or family doctor. In the meantime, you can work on how to fix text neck at home with a few easy stretches.
5 Stretches for Text Neck
Treatment for text neck frequently involves an array of exercises to help encourage your body’s natural alignment and to prevent the head from protruding forward. Try these five quick and easy stretches at home to prevent and ease text neck.
1. Downward Facing Dog
Downward dog is an active stretch that opens up your chest and peels your shoulders back, which are both problematic areas with forward head posture.
So, how do you do it?
Begin on all fours. Push into your hands and back into your heels while intending your tailbone toward the sky. You should form an upside-down “V.” Ensure your head is in line with your hands and hold for about 20-30 seconds.
You can even move your weight from one foot to another to help lengthen each side of your body.
2. Bow Pose
This is another one that helps open up the chest, bringing the neck back into alignment with the rest of your spine.
How do you perform the bow pose?
Start by lying face-down on a comfortable surface. Reach back with your hands and bend your knees, bringing your heels close to your buttocks. Grab your ankles in each hand and lift your chest up off the ground.
Make sure you keep your shoulders down and back and away from your ears. You will look like an actual drawn bow in this pose. Hold here for 20-30 seconds.
3. Chin Tuck
This stretch is two-in-one. If it’s easier, you can also do this one lying face-up on a comfortable surface. Or you can choose to do this one sitting up tall in a chair.
With your chin parallel to the floor, slowly drawback your head so that you make a double chin. While doing this chin tuck, you should feel a slight stretch on the back of your neck. Hold her for 20-30 seconds, then repeat up to five times.
You should also read: Straighten Up! 7 Quick Exercises for Better Posture
4. Cervical Flexion & Extension
Cervical flexion refers to bending your neck forward towards the chest, whereas cervical extension involves bending the face backward. This is a super gentle mobility stretch to get out any stiffness and tension. If there is any pain, only go to the point beforehand.
To perform an extension, slowly bring your gaze up, pause, then switch to flexion and slowly nod your head down toward your chest. Continue to slowly move through this stretch for about 10 counts.
5. Upper Trap & Levator Scapulae Stretch
These stretches will help relieve tension around your upper back, shoulders, and neck. Simply put, your Levator Scapulae is the muscle that runs down the side of the neck and into the shoulders.
Start by sitting on your right hand. Use your left hand to gently pull the top of your head toward your left shoulder, all the while remaining facing forward.
Pause here for 20-30 seconds, then gently use your left hand to pull your gaze toward your left armpit. Again, pause for 20-30 seconds.
Don’t forget to repeat this one on your opposite side! And do not pull your head too forcefully – gentleness is key here.
How to Prevent Text Neck
By now, you know how to relieve the tension a bit caused by text neck. But what about preventing it altogether? Here are a few tips:
- Hold your phone at eye level so you don’t slouch or protrude your head forward.
- Take breaks with your phone and avoid long periods of looking down at it.
- Set alarms to correct your posture throughout the day.
- Do the above neck stretches.
- Perform yoga regularly to help promote proper posture.
- See a physiotherapist or specialist when pain occurs to help reduce it and prevent it.
Related article: Combat Neck & Shoulder Pain with These 7 Yoga Poses
Watch That Posture!
Text neck is becoming an all too common occurrence. Yet, there are things you can do to reverse it and prevent it.
Becoming aware of your posture and how you view your phone is the first step. From there, ensure you take the right steps toward prevention or reversal to ensure you don’t end up with life-long pain.
Read next: Sitting All Day, Is It Really That Bad?