• 2 Simple Exercises to Relieve Neck Fatigue

    October 23, 2021 | By Tony Yong

    2 Simple Exercises to Relieve Neck Fatigue

    Do you ever feel like your neck is constantly sore?

    Our necks take on a lot of stress during our lives. Whether from carrying groceries, holding our kids, carrying backpacks, or weighing down with purses/shoulder bags. And for good measure, add in the hours staring at computer screens or hunched over reading or texting on smartphones. So it’s little wonder that our necks start to complain a little…or a lot!


    Technology’s Impact on Posture

    Technology is changing our posture. People, on average, spend about 2 to 4 hours per day with their heads tilted forward, reading or texting on their smartphones. That results in anywhere from 700 to 1,400 additional hours per year, with one’s neck in a less than ideal position. And our kids are not immune from this as they may spend up to an additional 5,000 hours in poor posture due to increased technology usage (Hansraj).


    What is Tech Neck?

    There’s now a new term to add to your lexicon… tech neck. Tech Neck is the outcoming when hunching over our smartphones and tablets for far too many hours in the day. When we’re looking down, our neck has to work harder to support our head. The average adult head weighs an average of 10-12 pounds. In a recent study, researchers (see link at the bottom of this post) evaluated neck strain with our heads in varying positions of a forward-leaning bend. Here’s what they found:

    Tilting the head forward 15 degrees: forces experienced by the neck increases to 27 pounds!

    Tilting the head forward 30 degrees: forces experienced by the neck increases to 40 pounds!

    Tilting the head forward 45 degrees: forces experienced by the neck increases to 49 pounds!

    Tilting the head forward 60 degrees: forces experienced by the neck increases to 60 pounds!


    Muscles Change with Posture

    It’s easy to forget that several shoulder muscles attach to the neck joints, becoming fatigued and strained when sustaining a head forward posture for long periods.

    With these sustained postures, shoulder and neck muscles can shorten, and others get lengthened. With the head forward posture, we get an exaggerated curve at the base of the head, which shortens those small neck muscles, while stretching out the lower neck, which sits in a more flexed position over an extended period.


    2 Simple Ways to Find Neck Relief

    There are a couple of ways that you can easily give yourself relief from neck pain and fatigue:


    1. Neck Distraction with Towel

    The first exercise is a simple resting posture using a towel. It helps to decompress your cervical spine and gives your neck muscles a much-needed break. First, you roll up a more oversized towel. Make sure it’s nice and thick. Then gently wrap around your neck and squeeze together the ends. This squeezing will tighten the towel slightly and elevate your head from your shoulders, providing gentle traction to your neck. Next, lay back in a chair or on your couch and allow your neck muscles to relax. You can rest your neck in this position for easily 5-10 minutes and can repeat as needed. It’s important to remember when you’re squeezing the towel not to pull your head forward.


    1. Chin Nod Stretch

    The following exercise is a gentle range-of-motion exercise that will help reverse some of the shortening of your neck muscles when you have a head forward posture. Lay on the floor on a yoga mat. If you feel uncomfortable and need your head elevated slightly, use a folded towel or reasonably flat pillow for added support. Now gently move your head in a ‘nodding yes’ motion. You should feel the back of your head slide along with the floor/towel. It should be done slowly and with little effort. Repeat 15-20x and hold the chin for 5 seconds.



    Do you want to feel better and move better?

    Please take the opportunity to book an appointment with one of Innovation Physical Therapy’s experienced physiotherapists by calling one of our 6 clinics throughout Edmonton & Sherwood Park, including RiverbendMeadowlarkBelvedereNamaoSherwood Park or our newest clinic in West Henday.

    If you have any further questions about neck fatigue or any other issues, contact Innovation Physical Therapy today. We’re here to help you, “Love Getting Better!”

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