Exercises for Relieving ‘Text Neck’ (Video)

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December 27, 2016

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That strain you may be feeling along the back of your neck, possibly extending to your shoulders, could very well be the result of too much time spent looking down at your smartphone.

“Text neck” is the informal name that physicians have given this chronic condition born of the digital age. Last month in a blog post, Ronald Tolchin, D.O., medical director of Baptist Center for Spine Care, part of Baptist Health Neuroscience Center, gave us an overview of this troubling trend, which he said is “almost at epidemic proportions.”

In this post, Dr. Tolchin demonstrates stretching exercises that anyone can do to alleviate the symptoms of neck pain. 

Video by Alcyene C. de Almeida Rodrigues

The vast majority of adults, nearly 80 percent, have neck or shoulder pain at some point in their lives that is caused by “text neck.”

The good news: There are simple stretching exercises you can do to alleviate this condition. Of course, if the pain and discomfort do not go away, you should consult your doctor.

The first piece of advice that Dr. Tolchin gives to his patients is aimed at improving their posture. He urges them to hold their smartphones up, closer to eye level — instead of constantly hooking their necks downward. A head bent at 45 degrees forward — a typical position while one is texting — can exert a force on the spine of nearly 50 pounds on the cervical spine.

“I’m asked to give advice for people with text neck … the first thing I do is try to change some of the bad habits and work on their posture,” says Dr. Tolchin.  “I often give them exercises to supplement that.”

One of the exercises involves taking one hand, placing it over one’s head and pulling the head gently to the side to stretch the neck muscles. The stretching should be done for both sides.

“They’ll feel a nice tightness right there,” says Dr. Tolchin, pointing to the side of the neck muscle which is undergoing the stretch.

The stretching exercises don’t work for everyone, especially those with more serious cases of text neck. “If they have persistent pain, I will recruit the help of a physical therapist,” he adds.

Watch the video now to see Dr. Tolchin demonstrate simple but effective exercises.

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