What is Tech Neck?
Tech neck is the neck pain and soreness associated with looking into your smartphones and electronic devices by bending your cervical spine too forward for extended periods. It is a lifestyle condition.
The cervical spine is the most mobile part of your spine, and it also bears the weight of the head. With constant forward bending, the curvature of the cervical spine alters, and it increases the load on the cervical spine. Tech neck causes tightening of muscles in the front of the neck and lengthening of the muscles at the back of the neck, causing muscular imbalances. All of these lead to neck pain, soreness, stiffness, and neck muscle spasm termed as Tech Neck. It may affect the shoulders and causes upper back pain and headaches at times. It can also lead to an abnormal curvature of the cervical spine, disc changes, and pinched nerve in the long run. Even jaw problems are associated with chronic tech neck.
Exercises for Tech Neck–
1. Chest opening stretch– Clasp your hands behind your back. Now, pull your elbows out to the side and slightly bend your head backward. Hold for 10 seconds, and you will feel a nice stretch in your neck, arms, and upper back. Repeat five times.
2. Chin tucks-Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and upper back pressed against a wall. Now pull the head back with chin tucked so that the head touches the wall. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat ten times.
3. Neck Isometrics-Sit straight and place one hand behind your head. Try to push your hand with your head and your hand pressing back against the head. There should be no resultant movement. Hold for five seconds. Repeat by placing a hand on the forehead, then on the right and left sides of your head. Do five reps in each direction.
4. Shoulder blade squeeze-Stand with arms by your side and pull your shoulders back by squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold this stretch for five seconds and repeat five times.
5. Upper trapezius stretch-Start by placing your right arm behind your back. Grab it with your left hand and pull it in the direction of your left foot. Now tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder, and you will feel the stretch on your right Upper Trapezius. Hold for 10-15seconds and repeat five times on each side.
6. Levator scapulae stretch-Sit upright on a chair and grab the bottom of the chair with your hand on the affected side. Now rotate the head about 45 degrees to the unaffected side and tilt the chin down as if trying to see in your shirt’s upper pocket. You will feel the stretch on the back of the neck on the affected side. To increase the stretch further, place your unaffected side hand on the back of the head and pull down gently. Hold this stretch for 10-15 seconds. Repeat 5-10 times and repeat on both sides.
7. Bhujangasana or Cobra pose of yoga– Lie down on your belly with your hands beneath your shoulders. Now lift your chest off the ground while your forearms are still touching the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and return to starting position. Repeat five times.
8. Backward shoulder rotations-Stand with your arms by your sides. Lift your shoulders and roll them backward in a circular motion. Do ten reps.
Massage, trigger point therapy, postural corrections, upper back foam roller mobilization, and ergonomic changes go a long way with the stretches and exercises in treating tech neck.
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