Looking down at your phone can be a pain in the neck — literally!
They call this discomfort tech neck, text neck or phone neck. And if it hasn’t happened to you yet, chances are at some point it will if you’re a phone user.
Why is this? Well, your head weighs about 10-12 pounds when your spine is in a neutral position. But when you bend your head forward, the stress this places on the neck can be as much as 60 pounds, depending on the angle. And that much load can do damage over time.
Most of us are not going to use our phones less, so what can we do about this?
First and foremost, be sure to hold your phone up in front of you at eye level instead of looking down at your phone.
Secondly, exercises can help relieve neck tension and strengthen those muscles so that you can reduce discomfort. Here are five exercises you can do for tech neck. Do all of these movements slowly and gently.
1. Look side to side – Look to one side, then front, then to the other side. Repeat.
2. Ear toward shoulder – stretch your ear toward your shoulder, while stretching your opposite arm downward. Come back up to center. Do on the other side. Repeat.
3. Chin tuck – Make an “L” with your index finger and thumb. Place your index finger under your chin and the thumb on your sternum. Keeping your hand stationary, slowly move your chin off the finger, pressing the next backwards to form a double chin. Slowly return your chin to the finger. Repeat 4-5 times. This is for the back of the neck.
4. Shoulder shrug and roll– Very slowly, shrug shoulders up; then into a backward roll, squeezing your shoulder blades together; then roll shoulders down and back, almost like you are putting your arms in your back pockets. Repeat 4-5 times, and be sure to do the entire movement slowly.
5. Chin toward side of chest -Place your left hand behind head, elbow out; then slowly move your chin toward the right side of your chest. Hold 20 seconds. Change arms and repeat to the other side.
Bookmark this video and do these exercises every day to help relieve neck stiffness and strengthen those muscles. And remember, keep your phone UP instead of down!
These exercises are presented for informational purposes only. If you are experiencing pain or are injured, DON’T exercise; consult your physician.