Let’s face it. It’s 2017, and there’s no shame in having your smartphone ready at a moment’s notice. From keeping up with friends to responding to work email on-the-go, our devices are essential to our everyday lives. They’re practically an extension of us. However, a phenomena known as text neck has come out of our consistent use of electronics. Text neck comes from our tendency to lean forward from our neck when we’re working intently from our devices, which can put unwelcome strain on our neck and backs. Our phones and laptops aren’t going anywhere, but there are ways to avoid the negative effects of text neck without losing the convenience of our devices. We’ve come up with a list of four ways to counteract it.
- Front chest opener: Chest-opening yoga poses are key in counteracting that dreaded text neck. You can choose from a variety of poses, but a seated cat-cow pose will do the trick right from your desk! Start with your feet flat on the floor near the front of your seat. Then, lift your spine into a gentle backbend forward and let your head and neck lengthen backward. On your exhale, move in the opposite direction, and drop your chin to your chest. If none of that made sense, just follow along here. Bonus: This move benefits your hips, which get stiff after sitting for long periods.
- Text neck apps: There really is an app for that! Apps like Text Neck Indicator will alert you when your head starts to tilt near your device based on the angle of your phone. It also lets you know when you’re not in danger of hurting your neck. Also, try the My Neck app for exercises and stretches that help combat neck and back pain.
- Take breaks: A break? In the middle of the day? Crazy, but yes! Set a reminder on your phone or laptop to get up and walk around periodically even if it’s just for a minute. The change in position will relieve the pressure on your neck and back, and hopefully some pressure from the workday too.
- Posture-strengthen exercises: Not that you need it, but here’s another reason to use that gym membership you got back in January. This is a quick and easy 15-minute workout guide that will help counteract the effects of text neck and also help strengthen the muscles you need to avoid it in the future.