What is Text Neck?
Text Neck is literally a Pain in the Neck.
Text Neck is a phrase that has been coined by medical professionals as to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from constantly looking down at your phone or other internet devices. It is an overuse syndrome or a repetitive stress injury to the neck caused by holding your head in a forward and downward position for extended periods of time. When holding your head in this position, excessive amounts of tension are created in the deep muscles of your neck and across the shoulders causing both acute and chronic neck pain. Chronic headaches have also been linked to this condition.
Leaning forward from your neck while you use your device puts increased pressure on the front of the inter-vertebral discs, and puts a huge amount of increased pressure and strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the neck.
Good Posture is defined as the Ears being aligned with the Shoulders.
When in an upright posture, when the ears are aligned with the centre of your shoulders, the weight of the average head exerts approximately 10-12 lbs of force through the muscles of the neck. But when the neck flexes forward by 30 degrees, now the amount of pressure increases to 30 pounds. When the neck flexes forward 45 degrees, now the amount of pressure on the spine increases to 49 pounds. That is 4-5 times the amount of pressure on your cervical spine from your head alone.
That additional pressure may present as neck pain, headaches, pain in shoulders, and tingling in hands and fingers. One may also have disc degeneration, compression of nerves, and loss of natural curve of cervical spine. Over time, pain may be a common occurrence, or even an every day eventuality. Ultimately, surgery may be needed.
Yoga puts your cervical spine back into alignment with ears over shoulders and reduces pressure on the anterior inter-vertebral discs. Yoga also strengthens neck muscles such as the muscles of the anterior and posterior triangles and the semispinalis, which run the base of the skull to the first few posterior ribs.
How can Gentle Yoga help my Text Neck Pain?
Outlined below are some tips for to strengthen and align the neck in common poses, helping to recover from or avoid text neck.
For more tips on relieving stress with Gentle Yoga, click here
Practicing Mountain Pose or Tadasana is a good way to cultivate awareness of your habitual posture and to move into a healthier alignment, where your head and neck are in line with your spine. Because your habit is going to feel more comfortable than a new alignment, have a partner or a teacher help adjust your head and neck in the pose.
Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana, is a great posture to reduce the pressure of your head on the neck and to stretch out the neck muscles.
In Seated Forward Fold or Paschimottanasana hold your upper back and neck in good posture, pulling the shoulder blades together before you fold at the pelvis. If you fold deeply, then gaze at the feet or the shins for the neck to stay aligned, and if you fold less deep, gaze past your toes to the floor a few feet in front of you.
During your Downward Facing Dog, a simple technique for a properly aligned cervical spine is to align the ears with the upper arms. Sometimes students will allow the weight of the head to drop and hang due to gravity, exacerbating “text neck” posture. The neck elongates when the ears are aligned with the ears, and the gaze naturally falls between the legs.
In Warrior I or Virabhadrasana I, or similarly in a high lunge, a slight tuck of the chin and pulling of the chin and neck posteriorly will help it to be more aligned with the shoulders.
Read more about the Health Benefits of Gentle Yoga in our Blog