First things first: we won’t even try to deny that a good portion (read: an embarrassing majority) of our day is spent glaring at our phone screens. From sorting through our emails while going about our morning routine, to catching up on the latest news stories, to reading the stream of texts pouring into that (very active, much to our chagrin) group chat that our friend added us to, phones have become central to our days. Unfortunately, with the rise of our phone use comes the rise of a little thing called tech neck.
For those who are unfamiliar, tech neck is the term for what happens after a prolonged period of angling your head a certain way while staring at your phone screen. Basically, while you’re looking at your phone, you’re simultaneously flexing your head forward and adding anywhere between 40-50 extra pounds of leveraged pressure onto your neck. Compound that added pressure over a long period of time, and you best believe your neck is going to start feeling a little (just kidding, a lot) strained as a result. What’s worse, your neck isn’t the only thing that’s going to feel the heat from too much time spent staring down at your phone – other common consequences might include headaches, lower energy levels, and even lower oxygen circulation in your body.
Now, let’s be real: knowing the negative repercussions of staring down at your phone the regular isn’t exactly going to curb your usage that much. So, with that being the case, what’s the next best thing to help you combat the effects of tech neck? Lucky for you, we’ve got the answer right here, in the form of a series of tech neck-nixing stretches. Try these out and get ready to have your neck health look up a bit (even if you’re not actually looking up yourself).
While standing up, simply tuck your chin downwards, as if you’re pushing it into your chest. Hold it for 10-15 seconds and repeat several times throughout the day. Not only will this stretch out the front of your neck and reverse the prolonged stretching of your back, but it will also strengthen your neck in order to help minimize the effects of tech neck as much as possible when you are looking at your phone.
Sit down, and look forward while relaxing your body completely. With your chin tucked down and into your chest, slowly move your head backward, being careful not to untuck your chin and tilt your face upwards. Hold the position for 10-15 seconds before releasing. This motion will force the back of your neck to contract, which is important in helping reverse the over-stretching of the area when you’re staring at your phone.
Side Neck Stretch
Sit down with your right hand extended downward beside you and your left hand placed atop your head, with your elbow pointing outward. Slowly pull your head to the left so that it tilts gently, while your right arm remains extended towards the ground. Hold for 20-30 seconds before releasing and switching sides. As you pull on your head towards either side, you’ll feel a deep stretch down the opposite side of your neck as you stretch the muscles and soft tissue structures in your neck.
Upright Chest Lift
Either standing up or sitting down, stack your hands, one on top of the other, and place them on the upper back of your neck, as if you’re cupping the back of your skull. Facing forward, gently begin to press your head back into your hands while slightly bending your upper torso and letting your chest lift up a bit. Hold the position for 20-30 seconds before releasing. This will strengthn some of the muscles in your back responsible for keeping your posture song, which will prevent excess strain on your muscles.