Chiropractic Exercises that Help
While chiropractic is an age-old medical practice, it is an ideal solution for a painful, modern day problem: tech neck.
This is the name for the uniquely compromised posture that results from being hunched over some kind of screen or smart device all day. The combination of the chin jutting down and forward and the shoulders rounding over when using computers, tablets, and smart phones adds an extra 50 pounds of pressure to the bones and muscles of the neck and shoulders! That’s a lot of weight for a structure only designed to support 10-12 pounds. Understandably, this leads to neck and spine misalignments that cause pain, strain and other problems.
Signs that you may be suffering from tech neck include pain, tenderness, tingling and/or numbness in the neck, shoulders and upper back area. Muscle stiffness and more frequent headaches are other symptoms that interfere with everyday activities like working, socializing and athletic training.
Sports chiropractic can be used to address tech neck and other painful conditions that result from — and lead to — incorrect posture. Through gentle and regular adjustments, a sports chiropractor can ensure proper alignment to help correct posture and relieve muscle tension.
When the spine, neck and head are all in alignment the entire body is properly supported and better able to perform optimally.
In addition, there are things you can take to relieve the tension placed on your neck when using smart devices. By holding the phone up more in line with your face/eyes and placing your laptop on a table or other similar height surface (instead of your lap) you avoid the uncomfortable, downward angle of your chin that leads to hunching over. Through chiropractic you can learn how to self adjust your posture when necessary, as well as learn and perform certain exercises designed to reduce the tension that leads to muscular constrictions and further misalignments. Doing them throughout the day can offer long-term relief from neck pain.
The following yoga-based exercises are safe and easy to do at home.
Lay down on your stomach facing the floor with your legs stretched out behind you and your hands positioned under your shoulders. Keeping your neck in line with your spine, chin only slightly tucked, slowly lift up your arms and torso off the ground, while squeezing your shoulder blades together and keeping the palms even with the shoulders. Slowly lower back down. Repeat 10 times. If possible, lift your legs at the same time for an all-over spinal strengthening stretch.
Floor Cobra with Arms Outstretched
The set up and function of this stretching exercise is similar to the first, only the arms are outstretched behind you at a slight angle from the body with the palms facing the floor.
Keeping your chin slightly tucked, lift your legs and torso off the ground. Glutes should be engaged and shoulder blades squeezed together. Repeat 10 times.
Side Neck Stretch
Sit straight up with legs criss-crossed in front of you (criss cross applesauce for those of you with small children!)
Gently aim your right ear towards the right shoulder until you feel a stretch. Take your right hand across your head to your left ear and ever so slightly pull to elongate the neck muscles. To further enhance the stretch, raise your left arm about six inches off the ground and flex your fingers toward the sky. Hold 10-15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Sitting up straight in the same criss-crossed position place your hands on your knees and shrug your shoulders up close to your ears. Follow by lowering shoulders to the point that you feel the elongation in the neck. Repeat the exercise by rolling shoulders forward when you shrug them them, and back ward when you lower them. Repeat as many times as feels good
Cat and Cow can be done on hands and knees or in the criss-crossed position about with hands on the knees. Roll shoulders all the way forward and tuck your chin to the chest. You should feel an opening between the shoulder blades. Next, slowly press the chest out and forward while looking up toward the sky to provide a full expansion of the chest muscles and release tension in the neck. Repeat several times.
At Dynamic Sports Medicine we are happy to evaluate neck and shoulder pain from tech neck or other misalignment problems. Give us a call today.