Yoga for Tech Neck

Do your head, neck, shoulders, and/or back hurt after investing your day Laptops?

I can help with that!

What is Tech Neck?

The common position in which a person holds their body for the estimated 9 hours a day that many people use computers, tablets, and mobile phones 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 you do to prevent or alleviate 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, then slowly roll the head towards the shoulder, back, other shoulder and down again 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. Lift the arms higher by pushing the fingertips towards the sky – aim to bring the 90 degree elbows to shoulder height, but don’t push it if it gets too intense. 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 lift the hands towards the sky for 5-10 breaths.

It really can be that easy to find relief! 

Of course you can go much deeper into a yoga practice and do a full on session 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.
  • Take a nice warm bath with epsom salts to relax your muscles at night. Light a candle if you want a little romance.
  • Consider using a standing desk, chair with a headrest, or mobile device holder to achieve a more beneficial angle.
  • Sit on one of those big inflatable exercise balls instead of a chair. You can help your body, plus it’s fun to bounce around all day!
  • 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 less-than-ideal behavior before it becomes dysfunctional habit.

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