Using a smart phone or a computer all day can add a lot of extra strain to your neck. The neck is where people hold most of their stress, leading to an increase in neck pain and discomfort. This “forward head” position or “text neck,” causes over-stretching of the muscles behind your neck and excessive shortening of the muscles in front. To counteract the effects of this poor postural position, try these three simple exercises to help relieve tension and tightness, and activate the posterior chain: the muscles that work to help hold your neck and back upright.
Lay on your back, with one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth – keep lips closed. As you inhale through your nose, try to expand your belly like a balloon, without letting the hand on your chest move at all. On exhalation, your belly sinks down towards the table and the hand on the chest remains stationary.
Lay face down and place your hands at your sides, palms up. Raise your arms up towards the ceiling and reach towards your feet while you squeeze your shoulder blades together, lifting the front of your shoulders off the table slightly. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for 3 sets of 10.
While laying on your back, notice the space between your neck and the floor. Press the back of your neck into the floor to eliminate the space. Your head should tilt down slightly as you do this. Repeat for 3 sets of 10.
If you have any questions or concerns about these exercises, or if your symptoms are not improving, please contact a healthcare professional.
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