5 Stretches For "Tech Neck" That Everyone Needs, Because We're All Too Attached To Our Phones
I'm going to take a wild guess here and say that you're probably reading this article on your smartphone or tablet. And if you are, you most likely don't have the most pristine posture at the moment. The perpetually hunched shoulders and the tense curve of your spine are basically a given when you're always looking down at your phone, but a few simple stretches for your "tech neck" can easily banish the pain and restore your posture.
"Tech neck" is essentially what happens when your muscles are super strained as a result of all the time you spend looking down at your phone or other handheld devices. It's a pretty common thing, as you might imagine, but it can actually lead to some pretty serious problems like nerve pain and herniations in the long run.
Bet you didn't think that stalking your ex's Facebook memories for hours could actually lead to actual health problems, huh? (Seriously though, chill with that).
In 2014, The Guardian reported on the intense stress many of us are putting on our necks from all of the double-tapping, meme-sharing, and ex-stalking we all can't help but do. Believe it or not, straining your upper body this way can actually damage your spine so much that it may require an operation to correct it in the long run. Yikes.
But if you make it a point right now to start incorporating a few of these simple stretches into your routine, you can make sure you don't find yourself on an operating table one day just because you couldn't figure out how to detach yourself from technology. Try them out, and watch your "tech neck" slowly but surely disappear.
1. Side Neck Stretch
When you know you've been going a little overboard with the Twitter scrolling, you're likely to feel the tension gravitate to your neck first.
This rejuvenating stretch will feel amazing on the sides of your neck, as well as your shoulders. Gently use one hand to grasp the side of your head, and slowly bring your ear toward your shoulder. Use just a tiny amount of pressure to start, and if you feel like you could benefit from a deeper stretch, increase the amount of pressure slowly, paying attention to what feels best.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply, savoring the release of tension.
2. Behind The Back Stretch
Rounding your shoulders is super common when it comes to gazing lovingly down at your iPhone, but it can lead to some unpleasant consequences. Positioning your shoulders this way actually compresses your diaphragm, which in turn leads to more shallow breathing. Guys, for real, "tech neck" can often be way more serious than you'd think.
But a stretch like this will definitely help to open up your chest, reverse your shoulder-rounding tendencies, and restore a more fluid and rhythmic breathing pattern for your body.
The goal here is for your palms to touch, but it's totally OK if they don't at first. Just focus on opening your chest as expansively as possible, and taking slow, even breaths.
This bad boy will do wonders for your upper back as well, so try to hold the posture for about six deep, juicy breaths.
3. Chin Tuck
Tucking your chin to your chest might seem simple, but little movements like this actually go a long way when it comes to easing a tense upper body.
Make sure you're sitting down in a chair for this stretch, and keeping your spine as straight and elongated as possible before you begin to focus on your neck.
Once you relax your shoulders and straighten your spine, begin to tilt your neck downward. Hold here for about 10 seconds, and repeat the motion five times.
4. Wall Chest Stretch
Rounding your shoulders constantly when you're scrolling through all the fresh memes your friends tagged you in can honestly just feel like second-nature at this point. But the poor posture that comes with that seemingly harmless scrolling can be super damaging to both your spine and your pectoral muscles.
Performing a simple chest stretch against the wall will feel incredibly relieving and create loads of space in your upper body. This baby is pretty intense, so be sure to listen to your body to see what's comfortable for you and what's not. Enjoy the soothing sensations of this stretch as you hold the pose for about 20 to 30 seconds.
5. Shoulder Rolls
Adding in a few rounds of shoulder rolls throughout the day is so freaking easy, and it'll make a world of difference when it comes to destroying the damage that "tech neck" is bringing into your life.
Shoulder rolls warm up your upper body and increase circulation, removing all the excess stress and tension that tends to build up pretty quickly. Start off with small rolls, and progress to a larger range of motion as you feel your shoulders begin to loosen up.
Make it a point to do these stretches when you first wake up, during your afternoon break, or right before bed — or simply whenever it crosses your mind! Better yet, set a recurring reminder on your phone, and chuck that sucker across the room when the alert goes off so you can give your body a well-deserved tech break.