Yoga 2.0: Relief for Tech Neck
Good day, Steemians!
In my last yoga post, I promised to share my passion for yoga to address a common problem many Steemians are facing: tech neck. Here we go!
Americans spend an estimated 9 hours engaged in screen time with a large percentage of that time being on portable mobile devices like phones and tablets. The position most people take is putting a tremendously dangerous amount of stress on their spine, day after day. Failure to modify activities and REVERSE the damage that has already occurred will eventually lead to a crisis situation if not addressed. -- Dr. Daniel Jacobazzi
What is Tech Neck?
Hunching over a screen all day puts a considerable amount of stress on the neck, spine, and shoulders.
According to Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD, “When your spine is in neutral position, the head weighs about 10-12 pounds. At 15 degrees [forward], the neck sees 27 pounds. At 45 degrees, it sees 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees, it’s 60 pounds.” (source)
Given that most Americans are spending more than half their waking hours on computers, phones, and other mobile devices, that's a whole lotta extra weight for the spine to bear! This leads to:
- neck pain
- shoulder pain
- upper back pain
- chronic headaches
- spinal curvature
And as we all know, life sucks when you're in pain! Thankfully, there are simple remedies that you can do to bring yourself back into alignment.
What can I do for tech neck?
A bit of awareness and some simple stretches for the neck, shoulders, and upper back can bring massive relief to this condition:
1. Neck Rolls
Drop the chin to the chest. Slowly roll the head in a clockwise circle. Take a second to align your breathing: inhale as the head comes forward, and exhale as you roll back. Repeat 5-10 times, then switch to counterclockwise circles for 5-10 reps.
2. Neck Stretch
Reach the left ear towards the left shoulder. Use the left hand to gently pull the head a bit deeper towards the left. Extend through the right arm as you do so. Breathe 5-10 times, then switch sides.
3. Neck Twist
Look forward, then inhale and turn the chin to the left shoulder. Exhale and turn the chin to the right. Inhale to the left, exhale to the right for 10-20 reps.
4. Eagle Arms
Extend the arms in front of you, and bend the elbows so fingertips point to the sky. Cross the left arm under the right at the elbows. Squeeze together at elbows to wrap left forearm around the right; the hands come together. Breathe 5-10 times, squeezing into the midline of the body. You can also lift the arms higher. Unwrap the arms and switch sides, crossing the right arm under the left for another 5-10 breaths.
5. Hands Behind the Back
Clasp the hands behind the back. If this is too intense, bring the arms together behind the back, palms facing each other, and imagine that you have a beach ball between the hands. Reach back through the hands for 5-10 breaths, then life the hands towards the sky for 5-10 breaths.
It really is just that easy to find relief! Of course you can go much deeper into a yoga practice to strengthen the neck, shoulders, and back, but these are easy stretches that can be done right in your office without looking like too much of a weirdo.
You can also:
- Take a break from your device for some time each day.
- Consider using a standing desk, chair with a headrest, or mobile device holder to achieve a more beneficial angle.
- Remember your posture: sit up tall, extend through the crown of the head, and roll your shoulders back to open the chest.
Pain is an indicator that something is out of whack, and it's an opportunity to check in with ourselves and alter a behavior before it becomes dysfunctional habit.