Struggling with neck discomfort from prolonged screen time? Here’s a concise guide, and video to stretching those knotted muscles in your neck.
To start, lower your position slightly. This is the initiation point for the relief of tension stored in the base of your neck. Aim to feel the stretch below your actual skull, targeting the soft tissues of your neck. Remain still, focusing your attention on these tiny muscles – your occipitals. Comprising a significant part of your skull, these muscles are subject to constant tension due to the weight of your head. This is exacerbated by the forward-leaning posture we often adopt while engaging with our devices.
To ease this tension, concentrate on your breathing, allowing gentle side-to-side movements. Be mindful of keeping your spine intact while loosening these tissues.
Focus on the Middle of your Cervical Spine
Next, adjust your position slightly upwards to focus on the middle of your cervical spine (neck region). Find the spot where you can really dig into the tissues in the center of your neck, beyond your upper neck and skull. Maintain your focus on breathing throughout this.
From this position, extend your jaw slightly towards the ceiling and then retract it back. Repeat this a few times. This light cervical extension aids in decompressing the spine and restoring some of the natural curvature of the neck that is often lost due to constant hunching.
As you continue with this routine, move further back until your head can fall back comfortably. Remember, you’re not leaving your head to do all the work here. Maintain control over your abs to support your spine. As you breathe out, pull your chin towards your chest. Use the weight of your head to strengthen your neck.
As we lean forward, the muscles on the front side of our necks can become tight, short, and weak, similar to the effect on our hip flexors from sitting too long. Practicing these stretches can help combat these issues.
Finally, Perform a “Check Six”
Finally, for a comprehensive stretch, perform the “check six” movement. Look over one side, let your head fall at that position, and feel the stretch down that side. Bring it back to neutral and then look upwards. Repeat this movement, allowing your head to fall back each time.
To conclude, return to a neutral position – not fully reclined. Hold this position and push your tongue into the roof of your mouth. Jut your jaw slightly forward and hold this for three seconds before resting.
Remember, regular practice of these simple stretches can help alleviate the discomfort associated with prolonged screen use. As always, consult with a healthcare provider if you have any existing conditions or if any of these stretches cause pain.