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3 Tricks to Relieve Painful “Text Neck”

Do you know what your neck looks like when you’re scrolling through your phone? If I had to venture a guess, I would say it is probably at some sort of an angle, positioned downward to better stare at your device. This phenomenon is leading to more and more cases of “text neck” as I like to call it – which is stiffness and pain in your neck (and upper back) due to increased, chronic straining (AKA scrolling through news feeds, email, websites, etc across all of our super convenient devices). 

I know that I’m not immune to this problem! Practically every day I catch myself tilting my head in some weird way while absorbed in something on my screen. Today, it’s a normal and common problem, but it shouldn’t be something we all just accept as appropriate and healthy posture. All evidence points to this sort of posture creating really problematic stressors and strains on the spine. Over time, this can only lead to problems and pain. Consistency and commitment to taking care of your neck is key, as is adjusting your posture when you are on your smartphone or other devices.

In a study conducted by Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, it was found that as the head tilts forward the force place on the neck dramatically increases. When we hold our head in a healthy, neutral position, the forces to the cervical spine are about 10-12 pounds and evenly distributed, which is normal. But as we tilt our head forward the force increases:

Repetitive forward head posture and frequently hanging your head may lead to all sorts of neck problems, including early wear and tear, degeneration, nerve root impingement, herniation/bulges, and possibly the need for surgery. Imagine having a consistent force on your cervical spine that is the equivalent of 30-60 lbs? The results from that long term force cannot be good for anyone.

This graph from the study described above shows the effects of the tilt that accompanies cell phone use.

Be sure to use these best practices to decrease the strain you are putting on your neck and spine:

1. Be aware of your head and position

As shown above, even just a slight tilt away from a neutral spine practically doubles the force your cervical spine is feeling. Good posture isn’t just “shoulders back,” in this day and age we all need to be sure we are keeping our chins away from our chest and maintaining a healthy, neutral spine. 

2. Use simple neck stretches throughout the day

Even just gentle, slow, alternating ear to shoulder movements can stretch each side of your neck to prevent stiffness and cramping. This is even useful for those of you sitting in desks and around conference tables during the workday. Or students in lecture halls and classrooms! Just as you might get the urge to stretch your legs, be sure you are giving your neck some much needed time for gentle stretching throughout the day. 

3. Practice yoga poses that target neck and shoulder mobility

Naturally, as a yoga teacher, I am a huge proponent of yoga (shout out to my Yoga Prehab™ tribe!). But only because it actually works

In today’s busy world, I find that the countless clients I have worked with over the years really do have time to invest in their health and well being, even if that means just practicing a few minutes of yoga per day. 

My favorite poses (asanas) to target problematic neck and shoulder stiffness are the much-beloved downward facing dog and the ever-popular, super stretchy cat-cow. These help to stretch out and relax the neck, shoulders and even provide tension relief for both your upper and lower back. 

Pop into these even just for a few minutes when you feel that text neck tension creeping up on ya’ – bye text neck!

For a proven method to release, stretch, and strengthen these problem areas and heal from “text neck” once and for all, check out my course The Text Neck Fix. Better to spend a few minutes a day with me, than to need weeks of expensive rehab for nerve damage, disc issues, or other neck, shoulder, and cervical spine-related issues.

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Content provided above is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, injury, or other medical issues. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Tristan, Tristan Gatto, his heirs, beneficiaries, associations and partnerships from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Tristan’s negligence.

The 4 Most Effective Methods for Tension Relief 

Tension can strike at any time of year, am I right? Any time, any season, any given day your body may feel tight and tense, leaving you uncomfortable. Maybe you’re finding its worse during the winter or even just during this hectic holiday season. Whenever you’re feeling tense, put these methods to good use to experience some fast-acting relief for all your tension symptoms!

Stretch It Out

As a Physical Therapist Assistant over the last 7 years,  I have always told all my patients to take the time to stretch, no matter when or where. And now, I am telling you! Push whatever fears or concerns about looking awkward aside and get down to business by stretching anywhere and anytime you feel necessary.

You can make stretching look good, I swear. Honestly, whoever has the pleasure of seeing you will probably just assume you’re an athletic person, doing normal things that athletic people do. So go for it! I always celebrate anyone I see on the street stretching and releasing discomfort. Stretching is something everyone needs in order to stay healthy and maintain their best mobility. 

Sip, Sip

Sipping on a soothing beverage has powerful benefits for both mind and body. Mint, lavender, or chamomile are all teas that are well known for their calming properties and relaxing scents, but one of my personal favorites is rooibos. I love rooibos for it’s delicious, warming, fragrant qualities, but also because it is beneficial for blood pressure and circulation.

A lot of tension and inflammation problems can be caused or worsened by poor circulation, and oftentimes when you feel super stressed you’re blood pressure and heart rate are probably higher than normal. Rooibos works to lower blood pressure, helping relieve problematic manifestations of tension and stress in the body. My favorite rooibos blends are from Tea Sparrow; they come up with the most inventive, healthy, and delicious flavor pairings each and every month. 

Turn Up The Heat

Heat can be a great way to combat tension throughout various muscle groups in the body. If you have access to a sauna or steam room, those are great options, but you can also achieve the same results by taking a warm, luxurious shower or bath. You can even heat things up internally by doing a quick, energetic yoga sequence (with me)! 

Special Neck-nique 

Sometimes tension that originates in the neck will be symptomatic as pain in your shoulders and head. Nowadays with everyone straining their necks working at computers and looking at their phones, it is so important to address neck pain quickly and consistently. Letting neck pain linger can cause chronic headaches and migraines as well as knots and prolonged tension in your shoulders and back. 

I’ve observed this evolving trend of increasing neck trouble throughout my career, and love teaching people new techniques to get their necks right.

Try this in just three easy steps:

  1. Sitting on a chair or on the ground, stretch your left arm down by your side
  2. Then, tilt your head to the right until you feel a nice, gentle stretch along the left side of your neck
  3. Hold for 20 seconds or more, and then switch and do the other side

Super, simple stretches like this have a tremendous benefit when done consistently. To really get to the root of tension extending from your neck, get The Text Neck Fix, which I created as a tool you can use literally anywhere to quickly and effectively relieve neck pain and improve your posture (mega bonus -it’s currently on sale, because I love you all so, so much)!

Looking for more safe and effective methods to combat tension, increase mobility, and sleigh all day? Take a look at today’s Fix Yourself Fridays on my Instagram to learn more!