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NECK PROBLEMS: Try these techniques to help alleviate tension.

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Neck problems don't have to be a way of life. From texting and sitting at your computer all day, to work-related accidents and stress, it's easy to see why the neck can be a source of pain. Looking at your smart device can wreak havoc.

Text neck is the nickname for all the back, neck, and #spinal issues affecting those who spend too much time on their cell phones and mobile devices. It is due to the constant hunching over people do to peer into their mobile screens, which #malforms the spine. Physicians are reporting children as young as eight years old are affected.

Collectively, Americans check their smartphones over 8 billion times per day. And young adults age 18 to 24 send or receive an average of 109.5 text messages on a typical day.

"Just look at any crowd of young people, chances are most are exhibiting very poor posture from tilting their head down to read their device. This forces their neck and back muscles to work at awkward angles just to keep the body upright, and pain and strain is often the result", says Robert Gearhart, an operating room nurse and co-inventor of Body Aline, an exercise machine designed to strengthen the back and realign the spine.

He says the best way to check your mobile device is to stand up straight and look at your device at eye level instead of reading it next to your torso, which usually results in your chin going down towards your chest.

Or lie on your stomach when spending long periods of time on your phone. This provides a safe and natural passive isometric exercise to restore the natural curve to the neck.

Of course, it is not just mobile devices that can give a person back problems - there are many causes and some, such as #arthritis, have no easy answers.

However, Gearhart says frequently the cause of back pain can be something that can be adjusted with proper lifestyle choices. Here are some ways to make life a little bit easier.

  1. The levator scapulae can cause nasty tension #headaches. Sit in a chair, grab the side of the seat to anchor, gently pull your head away with your other hand. Slowly work your head side to side.

  2. Hours of hunching over your desk cause the erector #spinae group to tense up and cause pain. Place a lacrosse or tennis ball between your shoulder blades, cross your arms and use your knees to slowly move up and down.

  3. We tend to get stuck with our neck extended and heads hung out in front. Simply "sit tall", using 1 to 2 fingers to guide the head back. Don't look up, just keep your eyes and head level. Slowly move the head back and forth.

  4. If your upper back gets stuck in a hunched position, it can cause global pain and injuries. Lay on a foam roller, knees tucked, head supported, and slowly roll back and forth from mid-back to the shoulders. Keep your #spine neutral (not rounded nor arched). Never roll the lower back.

  5. Take Breaks From Desk Jobs: When working at a computer, take a short break every 15 or 20 minutes, then move around and change your body and head positions.

  6. Adjust Your Workspace: Set your computer monitor at eye level. Raise your #smartphone to eye level rather than lowering your head. Get a tablet holder to elevate your device close to eye level. If possible, get a standing desk or an ergonomic chair. Don't slouch at your desk.

  7. Use Voice-To-Text As Often As Possible: This cuts down on the amount of time you are looking down at your phone.

  8. Hold Your Phone At Eye Level: Do not look down and allow your chin to move towards your chest when you are on your mobile device. This causes the back of the neck to support the head instead of the #shoulders.

"Taking some preventative measures", Gearhart says, "is much easier than trying to treat a spine that is already out of alignment."

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