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Keep Your Head Up! 4 Exercises for the Phone addict

Revive Physiotherapy & Wellness

In the world we live in now, phones are essential for everything we do. We rely on them for work, to connect with friends and family and sometimes to just relieve stress. The problem with using phones all the time is the environment we are forcing our bodies to adapt to. We call it, Text Neck. Looking down at our phones affects the strength and length of muscles that support the neck and can lead to Upper Crossed Syndrome.

What is Upper Crossed Syndrome?

Upper crossed syndrome is resultant of weakened deep neck flexors and extensors and tight superficial neck extensors and upper back muscles (such as upper trapezius and levator scapulae). These tight group of muscles tend to be overused whereas the weakened group of muscles become less active and cannot fulfill their roles as neck stabilizers. Upper crossed syndrome can cause symptoms such as: neck pain, headaches, upper back pain, tightness/pain in the chest and even jaw pain1.

So What Does This All Mean?

Let’s put the medical jargon aside and discuss what we can do to counteract the negative effects of upper crossed syndrome. Well, to simply put it, strengthen the weakened structures and stretch the tight structures! Your Physiotherapist or Massage Therapist at Revive Physiotherapy & Wellness can assess and treat your text neck through many treatment options such as manual therapy, acupuncture & dry needling, massage, taping and exercise prescription. Here are some exercises that can help!

Stretch:

  1. Pectoral Stretch: Place one hand on the door frame (side to be stretched) and turn your body away from the doorframe. Feel a slight discomfort in your chest and up into your shoulder.
    • Hold for 20-30 seconds, perform 5 repetitions, 2-3x/day
  2. Sub occipital Stretch: While lying down on your back, place a ball (lacrosse, tennis etc.) at the base of your skull where your hair line ends. Roll over the back up/down and side to side. Applying more pressure down into the ball will increase the intensity of the stretch.
    • Perform 15 rolls, repeat 5 times, perform 2-3x/day

Strengthen:

  1. Deep Neck Flexors: Lie on your back with your head directly on the surface. Tuck your chin in without lifting the back of your head off the bed.
    • Perform 10 repetitions, 2-3x/day
  2. Scapular Retraction: Using an elastic band, hold the ends of the band with both hands. Pull your elbows back towards your back pocket focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together.
    • Perform 10 repetitions, 2-3x/day

It is one thing to treat an injury after it occurs but another thing to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are 4 tips to prevent text neck and reduce its impact on your posture2:

  1. Raise the phone – keep your phone at eye level or 10 degrees above or below
  2. Take frequent breaks
  3. Stand up straight – try to keep your chin tucked in and your shoulders back to prevent rounding
  4. Exercise regularly – your body is going to give back what you put into it! Keep your muscles healthy by strengthening and stretching to maintain a healthy body.

Book an appointment with your Revive Physiotherapy & Wellness expert today to get to the bottom of your neck pain!

References:

Revive Physiotherapy & Wellness

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