Even before remote work became the norm, tech neck has been an issue for anyone who spends time using digital devices. Tech neck occurs when there’s repetitive strain to the muscles that surround the cervical spine (e.g., from looking down at a cell phone for extended periods of time), and can be uncomfortable and even painful.
Whether you’re working from home in a less-than-ergonomic setting or just spend a lot of time hunched over technology, you may have experienced the discomfort of tech neck. Here are three poses that can help relieve your pain:
Sphinx is a backbend with multiple benefits:
- Strengthens the back muscles
- Stretches the muscles in the front line of the body
- Elongates the spine
To practice sphinx, begin by laying on your belly and propping up on your forearms. Make sure your elbows are in line with your shoulders, then gently press into your forearms while drawing the tops of your shoulders away from your ears. Stay for several breaths before releasing by lowering your chest back down to your mat.
Prone Shoulder Stretch
This stretch will help you open up across the chest and shoulders while creating a gentle twist in the cervical spine to help release your neck. Here’s how to get into it:
- Begin by laying on your abdomen and slide your left hand palm-down under your left shoulder.
- Extend your right arm out to the right, also palm-down, to half a capital T shape.
- Bend your left knee, then roll over onto your right hip, the front of your right shoulder, and the right side of your head.
Stay for three to five long breaths before rolling back onto your belly to do the second side.
One of the simplest ways to help relieve tech neck can be done even while sitting in a chair. Sit up tall in your spine, take a deep breath in, and as you exhale allow your right ear to drop toward your right shoulder. You can play with the angle of your chin, rotating it toward the shoulder head or perhaps down toward the clavicle, until you find the sweet spot where you feel a stretch across the left side of your neck and the top of your left shoulder.
Do this in both directions and end by drawing slow half-circles with your neck.
Resources for Your Well Being
Tension in the shoulders from stress and anxiety can also contribute to the discomfort of tech neck. Practicing these three poses is a good start toward relieving tech neck-related pain. Check out our blog for other quick reads on topics that support your self care efforts, from creating a mindfulness routine to restorative yoga poses for renewal.