Whether you work from home or in the office, chances are you’ve experienced ‘tech neck’. Tech neck is caused by looking down or hunching over your smartphone, tablet or laptop for an extended period of time, typically while you’re at work. Key signs of tech neck are pain and stiffness in the lower neck and between the shoulder blades, bad posture, frequent headaches and even jaw pain.
Unsurprisingly, tech neck isn’t the most comfortable thing to deal with but there are many ways to ease this type of pain, including investing in the best office chair with ergonomic features and customisable support. To find out more, I spoke to Erika Weiss, wellness expert at ISSA Yoga who offered her tips for banishing tech neck.
“One of the easiest ways to reduce discomfort caused by tech neck is to raise your devices so they’re eye-level,” says Weiss. She also says that this includes after work activities involving devices too, like watching TV and playing games. Weiss also states that you should “avoid rolling your shoulders forward or outstretching your neck. Try to be conscious of how straight you sit, and if you feel yourself start to slump, try to catch yourself and take a break if you can.”
In addition to these small changes, Weiss suggests taking up yoga to relax the muscles after a long work day. This 5 move and 5 minute yoga routine is designed to reduce tech neck and strengthen your muscles, so grab your best yoga mat and let’s get started.
Try this 5 minute ‘tech neck’ yoga routine
The aim of this 5 move and 5 minute yoga routine is to “focus on low-impact moves that bend the spine without causing unnecessary stress to your sore muscles, as the goal is to strengthen them and not strain them,” says Weiss. The following yoga flow is the perfect way to end a long day sat at your desk and alleviate any neck, shoulder and back pain.
1. Standing forward bend
The Standing Forward Bend, also known as ‘Uttanasana’ is an effective way to open the hips, stretch the spine and hamstrings and relieve stress. For this move, start by standing tall before sweeping your arms down and folding forward from your hips. Bring your fingers in line with your toes and press your palms flat to the floor if you can or hold your legs if you can’t reach that far. Let your head hang loosely, take a few breaths and inhale slowly as you stand back up.
2. Warrior II
Warrior II is a popular yoga move that opens the chest, energises tired limbs and stretches the hips, groin and shoulders. The move is also said to build stamina, flexibility, and some say it's helped relieve their headaches. Standing up straight in Mountain Pose, take a step back with your left leg so you’re in a lunge-like position, with your left leg out straight behind you and your right leg slightly bent. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and keep your shoulders down to lengthen and stretch your neck.
3. Extended Triangle Pose
Another yoga pose that opens up the body and stretches the spine is the Extended Triangle Pose. Stand with your feet apart and take your right leg forward and your left leg back. From here, take your right arm down to your right leg before bringing your left arm up above your head. Ensure your neck aligns with your spine.
4. Cat Pose
Also known as ‘Marjaryasana’, the Cat Pose improves your spine’s flexibility and relieves tension around your back, neck and shoulders. For Cat Pose, start on all fours with your knees under your hips and wrists in line with your shoulders. As you exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling and pull up your stomach as you allow your head and tailbone to drop. To feel the stretch more in your back, push against the floor. As you inhale, return to a neutral position.
5. Thread the Needle
The final move is Thread the Needle which eases tension and aches and relaxes the body after a long day. On all fours, make sure your hips are directly above your knees and your shoulders, elbows and wrists are in a straight line to the ground. Lift your right hand up and thread it beneath your left arm while keeping your hips high and lowering your chest to the ground. Hold this for a few breaths before switching sides.
For more ways to get rid of tech neck, try these working from home stretching exercises.