According to statistics, the average adult in the US spends about 2-4 hours a day tapping, typing, and swiping on their phones. Not surprisingly, this digital addiction quite often leads to certain serious consequences — the constant looking down at your device puts additional pressure on the front and back of your neck.
Bright Side gathered the easiest ways to relieve neck pain and improve your posture at home.
1. Tennis ball massage
What to do: Grab a tennis ball and start massaging the base of your skull with it in different ways. If you feel a tight area, add pressure to it for about 20-30 seconds, then release and continue massaging. Results: A tennis ball will help you restore your neck mobility by digging into your soft tissue and breaking up the tightness and stiffness in your muscles.
2. Bow pose
What to do: Lie flat on your stomach with your chin on the floor and your arms placed at your sides. Bend your knees so that your heels reach your buttocks. Grab your ankles with both hands. Inhale and lift your heels up to the ceiling and your thighs away from the floor. Pull your upper torso and head off the floor at the same time. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Slowly lower your body to the floor on an exhale. Results: Bow pose will help you fix rounded shoulders by opening them from the front and strengthening the muscles of your back as well.
3. Camel pose
What to do: Kneel on the floor, place your knees hip-width apart and thighs perpendicular to the ground. Put your hands on the back of your pelvis with your palms on the tops of your buttocks. Gently pull your tail forward and lean your upper torso backward. Grab your feet with both hands. If it's not possible, turn your toes under to elevate your heels so that you can hold them with your hands. Lower your head back and hold the pose for about 30-60 seconds, then return to the initial position. Results: Camel pose will help you relieve the stiffness in your neck muscles and increase mobility in this area.
4. Cobra pose
What to do: Lie flat on your stomach, stretch your legs back, and place the tops of your feet on the floor. Put your hands on the floor right under your shoulders. Inhale and begin to lift your chest off the floor by straightening your arms. Press your tailbone toward the floor and curl your spine by slowly lowering your head backward until you feel a stretch. Hold the position for about 15-30 seconds, then release back to the floor with an exhalation. Results: Cobra pose will help you lengthen the front muscles of your neck and realign the shoulders in order to restore a natural curve in your spine.
5. The chin tuck exercise
What to do: Sit upright and place your fingers on your chin. Keeping your eyes on the horizon, gently push your chin back toward your throat until you feel a stretch at the base of your head. Hold the position for 5 seconds, then bring your chin forward again. Repeat 10 times. Results: The chin tuck exercise will help you align your head directly over the torso, relieve the compression in your spine, and reduce the tightness in your neck muscles.
6. The corner stretch
What to do: Face a corner of your room. Stand with your feet together about 2 feet away from the walls. Put both forearms on the walls in front of you. Keep your elbows slightly below the height of your shoulders. Lean toward the corner until you feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds, then return to the initial position. Results: The corner stretch will help you strengthen the muscles of your neck and counteract pain and discomfort in this area.
7. Neck stretches
What to do: To perform a front neck stretch, slowly bend your chin down to your chest and hold the position for 15 seconds. Then lift your head back to the starting position. After this, bend your head backwards and hold the pose for 15 seconds as well. Repeat the exercise 10 times from both positions. To do a side neck stretch, tilt your head directly to the left, drawing your left ear towards your left shoulder. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then return to the initial position and repeat the stretch with the other side. Do a total amount of 10 repetitions. Results: Neck stretches will help you restore proper alignment as well as prevent muscle tightness and pain in the neck.
Bonus: How to use your phone correctly
Keep your device at eye level. When using your phone, instead of lowering your head forward, try to keep a neutral spine so that your ears are in line with your shoulders. Take a break every 20-30 minutes. If you’re going to spend a long period of time working with your device, don't forget to take frequent breaks. Just get up and walk around, or do some neck stretches from time to time. Always pay attention to your posture. Remind yourself to check the way you're holding your head and correct it as frequently as possible. You'll get used to keeping your chin parallel to the floor with time. Go hands-free whenever you can. Try to avoid looking down at your device all the time – turn your voice into messages with the help of talk-to-text apps instead of typing and use a Bluetooth headset instead of talking to your friends in an ordinary way. Use the Text Neck app. This intuitive application will help you detect bad posture that causes neck pain and improve it immediately.
Do you know any other ways to combat neck pain? Share your ideas with us in the comments!
Illustrated by Leisan Gabidullina for BrightSide.me