3 Yoga Poses to Ease Neck Pain Caused by Over-Texting
What is a Text Neck or Tech Neck?
“Text neck” is a repetitive stress injury caused by an extended use of mobile devices with the head motionless and bent down. It is frequently associated with texting, but it can be related to any activity done on phones and tablets when looking down such as surfing the web, playing games, typing on a computer or even cooking.
We have all heard that over-texting may increase the risk of neck and/or shoulder pain. The position our body takes for texting, with immovable shoulders and back and our fingers moving rapidly, is like the position we take for typing on a computer. When we do yoga and feel relaxed, our body gets the message that we are safe. Our muscles relax, our blood pressure drops, our nerves are calmed, and anxiety is decreased. This is how healing is enhanced.
Over-texting gives neck pain, aching upper and lower back, and a sore thumb. We have our head and arms forward, which shortens the chest.
Breathe Deeply to Release Neck Muscles
One way to support the neck is with relaxation.
Come into a constructive rest position where you lie down on a blanket, put your legs on a chair so that your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle. Relax the psoas and the hip flexors muscles that are in your hips. Then start doing a deep diaphragmatic breath.
Sometimes our upper trapezius and neck muscles are tight because they are doing breathing work. If you shift the breathing work from your neck muscles to your diaphragm, your neck can them start to relax.
If you are breathing using your neck muscles 24 hours a day, they cannot relax. You can use diaphragmatic breath to allow the tension to come out of your neck.
Doing relaxation and deep three-part breath in this posture while lying supported can be really beneficial to release tension.
3 Yoga Poses to Help Loosen Your Neck
1. Body Alignment Instructions
The following movement increases the secretion of synovial fluid, slowly and carefully loosening the neck. Be careful not to let the head drop backwards.
Sit on a cushion, cross your legs keeping your knees as close to the floor as comfortable, hips slightly elevated, and weight equally divided on both parts of your buttocks. Sit on a chair if it is difficult for you to sit on a cushion placed on the floor.
- Close your eyes.
- Visualize a red balloon hovering above your head and a white string with a tiny hook hangs from it.
- Feel that the crown of your head gently lifts you up–your whole trunk feels lean and slender–and your neck lengthens.
- Keep breathing, enjoying the sensation of elongation, then
- Imagine that the string is cut, and let your chin gently drop down to your chest.
- Straighten your head with your chin slightly in, and gently lengthen the nape of the neck.
- Lower your chin down to your chest.
- Now raise your chin up and look up to the ceiling without tilting the head back. This will stretch the throat area.
- Bring the head back to the center.
- Close your eyes, inhale then exhale and
- Lower your right ear toward the right shoulder and let it hang. Do not force the ear to come lower down. With your left hand, massage the left side of your neck in a gentle manner. Hold for a few seconds then straighten your head.
- Lower your left ear toward the left shoulder and let it hang. With your right hand, massage the right side of your neck in a gentle manner. Hold on for a few seconds then bring your head back to the center.
- Take a deep breath.
- Rotate the head slowly and carefully 3 times to the left and 3 times to the right. Do not let your head drop back. Be attentive to the creaking sounds that you may hear visualizing small drops of warm oil loosening your neck.
- Straighten the head and breathe normally.
2. Cow Movements Instructions
Caution: Do not attempt this pose if you have recent or chronic back pain or injury.
This is a neutral "tabletop" position on your hands and knees.
- Come to the floor on your hands and knees.
- Place the knees hip width apart, with the feet directly behind the knees.
- Place the palms of your hands directly under the shoulders with the fingers facing forward.
- Look down between the palms and allow the back to be flat.
- Press into the palms of the hand to move the shoulders slightly away from the ears.
- Press the pelvis towards the back wall, and the crown of the head towards the front wall.
Caution: If you have a neck injury, keep your head in line with your upper body.
- From the table pose, inhale and reach the pelvis up towards the ceiling, arching the spine and letting the belly drop down. Do not overextend the lumbar spine.
- Your fingers are spread wide apart as you press the palms into the floor.
- Drop the shoulders down from the ears and reach the crown of the head up towards the ceiling.
- Exhale, and come back to the table pose, looking straight ahead.
- Repeat the cycle 10 to 12 times inhaling into the cow pose and exhaling into the table pose.
3. Tree Pose Instructions
- Stand in the mountain pose with your feet grounded in the floor.
- Take a deep breath and as you inhale, raise your arms above your shoulders and head.
- Interlock the fingers and as you exhale go on to your toes high up.
- Stretch as high as you comfortably can while breathing normally.
- Try and balance the body on the toes bringing the focus to any one point with the eyes.
Tips for Neck Pain
- Choose a neck-supporting chair.
- Sleep on your back if you can.
- Whenever you work on a computer, make sure that the monitor is at eye level.
- Take a break from time to time.
- Stretch your neck muscles several times a day by rotating your head from side to side and up and down.
- Strengthen the muscles of your neck to support the weight of your head and minimize strain on your cervical spine.
- Use pain as a warning sign. If you have pain in your neck, between the shoulder blades, numbness or tingling in the arms, or frequent headaches, check with your doctor to find out if there is a serious issue going on. Pay attention and act quickly to make changes in order to reduce or eliminate any head-forward posture (e.g. looking down for a long period of time) that is straining your neck.
- Finally, maintain symmetry in your body position when possible. Most of the time, neck pain is related to long-term poor posture.
- Limit phone/tablet use to necessary tasks.
- Use better posture by holding devices up closer to eye level.
- Once the pain is gone, get into the habit of exercising and stretching the neck, chest, and upper back.
Cautions for All Yoga Poses
- Avoid what causes or increases pain
- Stop doing a pose if you feel a sharp sensation in your joints
- Stop doing a pose if you feel a sharp, shooting sensation down the limbs
- Avoid what causes numbness in the limbs
- Avoid what makes you painful when you feel you cannot breathe well
- Just because we all have differently shaped bones and bodies, not all postures will look the same for everybody. Some postures may or may not be accessible without modifications.
- Stop doing a pose when you feel dizzy
- Follow your doctor's orders. After surgery, ask your doctor what you can do and when.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.