Today, people are spending a lot of time on laptops, computers and mobile phones. Over these years, these electronic devices have become part of our lifestyle. At the same time, spending too much time on these devices pose risks of certain health issues. One common problem is text neck.
What is Text Neck?
Text neck is repetitive neck injury or pain in the neck as the result of looking down at a mobile device for a prolonged period, without the head. The symptoms of text neck are:
- Upper back pain – severe and sharp pain results in upper back muscle spasms
- Shoulder pain – pain and tightness results in shoulder muscle spasms
- Cervical nerve cramps, with neurological symptoms affecting the arms and hand.
According to the researchers from Harvard Medical Health, 7 out of 10 people experience text neck or neck aches at some point in their life due to improper use of mobile devices. The good news is that there are effective exercises to resolve text neck.
Exercises for Text Neck
- 1. Nod
This exercise involves moving the head downward and forward while pulling the shoulders back and down. It improves the mobility of your neck. Doing this exercise every day can relieve neck pain or text neck.
Step 1: Sit or stand on a mat or desk and relax your shoulder. Close your mouth and look up the ceiling. Retain this position for some time.
Step 2: Relax your jaw and open your mouth. Then arch your head backwards one to two inches.
Step 3: Keeping your head in the same position, bring your lower and upper jaws together and close your mouth. At this point, you will feel a stretch in the front of your neck.
- 2. Chest Opening
This exercise involves the head, shoulder and chest. In addition to reversing the forward leaning posture, chest opening exercises create space around your heart.
Step 1: Sit or stand on your mat and hold your back head with your hands.
Steps 2: Open your elbows to the sides squeeze your shoulder back till you feel a stretch front of your chest.
Steps 3: Bring your head and shoulder slightly backwards and maintain the arch position in upper middle back for at least 10-20 seconds and then release slowly.
- 3. Downward-facing Dog
Downward-facing dog position is suitable for the anterior chest wall and shoulder. This exercise improves the strength of your upper body. As this exercise brings the shoulder blades to your back, it creates space in your neck.
Step 1: Stand on the mat and bend your upper body downwards. Tuck your toes in and lift your hips high by pointing the hip bones towards the ceiling.
Step 2: Get your heels on the mat but avoid letting them plank on the ground.
Step 3: Drop your head downwards. While you are in this position, make sure to place your wrists parallel to your feet on the front edge of the mat.
Step 4: While maintaining this position, press the knuckles of your forefinger and thumb against the ground.
Step 5: Maintain this position for some time. Take at least three deep breaths and then release slowly.
- 4. Spinal Decompression
This exercise strengthens the spine and improves the posture.
Step 1: Sit at edge of your seat keeping your legs apart and turn your feet in a 45 degree angle
Step 2: Let your hands loosely on both your sides with palms facing forward
Step 3: Sit straight in a neutral position and bring your head back over the shoulder.
Step 4: Take 10 deep breaths and exhale.
- 5. Bow-pose
The bow-pose helps to straighten bended shoulders by opening them from the front and strengthening them from back.
Step 1: Lie on your stomach on the mat with chin facing downwards and hands on either side.
Step 2: Bend your knee towards your buttocks and hold ankles tightly with your hands. Flex your feet strongly.
Step 3: Lift your heels higher if you can, while keeping your tailbone pressed into the mat. Look forward and pull your shoulders away from your ears.
Step 4: Take 10 breaths in this position.
Step 5: Breathe out slowly, and lower your thighs and body to the ground.
Here are some ways to prevent text neck:
- Reduce the time spend on your mobile device
- Raise your phone to eye level when using it
- Take frequent breaks from the screen
- Maintain good posture when you stand, sit or lie down.
- Do stretching exercises/yoga every day
Healthline reported on a recent study in Brazil involving 150 young adults, ages 18-21, which found that text neck was not associated with neck pain. However, the researchers reported that spending too much time on mobile phones and lack of exercise could be linked to neck and back pain. While no single method can ease tech-use related pain, make sure to improve muscle flexibility and strength with exercise. Consult a doctor if you feel uncomfortable and continue to experience pain even after you do the above-mentioned exercises.