Neck Check for 'Tech Neck' - FIT Human Performance

Neck Check for ‘Tech Neck’


December 11, 2016 – 


There is a 95% chance that 95% of you are reading this Report on your smartphone or at your computer (it’s ok, I won’t tell.)  Quick don’t think twice, just take a ‘posture check.’ Is your head-hanging forward?  Are your shoulders rounded?  Now, how does your spine feel in the upper or lower back?

Our screen-centric culture comes with many benefits.  It is easier than ever to expand your knowledge and constantly learn, to stay visually connected with faraway family, to form unexpected relationships, or to work and play remotely.  On the flip side, the increased periods of time that we spend staring at our cellphones or utilizing technology at work has introduced a new health issue, popularly dubbed “tech neck.”

If you need proof, take a look at the majority of people around you the next time you are in a crowd or public place.  Examine their postures and curves of their spines (just look, don’t touch.)  The amount of time we spend engaged with our various screens in our highly virtual world makes it easy to find ourselves in a constant “slouch.”  Over time, staying hunched over cellphones, office desks, or on the couch can lead to a host of muscular and spinal issues.  Slouching is not your friend.  A regularly rounded upper back can also lead to extended periods of shallow breathing, which may cause you to feel mentally or physically sluggish or exhausted.

So if you plan to plop down for a 4 hour football game, a long movie or TV program, a half day conference or class … here is an exercise to help offset some of the sitting time, we will call it the  wow-can-i-pose;

  1. Start seated in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. As you inhale, sit taller and extend through the crown of your head.  Imagine a thread attached to your crown.  Now imagine a friend pulling this thread toward the ceiling, stacking each of your vertebrae into a neat column until your crown is stacked over your pelvis.  Keep your chin parallel to the ground and your gaze forward.
  2. Place both hands palms-down in your lap, with one hand on each thigh. Roll both of your shoulders exaggeratedly forward, then up toward your earlobes, then finally relax them back and down.  Feel your collarbones spreading, and feel the expansion across the front of your chest.  Hold for 3 to 5 breath cycles.  Yes, calm is your friend.
  3. On an inhalation, keeping your elbows in toward your sides, slowly drag your hands back toward your hop creases (pockets) until your elbows are below your shoulders. You will feel your chest begin to open even more here.  To continue to keep a long, supported spine, maintain slight tone in the abdomen by engaging the muscles directly below your navel (stabilize.)
  4. With your hands at your hip creases, slowly lift your gaze toward the ceiling until you feel a stretch at the front of the neck. Don’t compromise the back of your neck here – stop your gaze at a point that is accessible for you without causing any pinching or pain.  Hold this gaze for 3 to 5 breath cycles.  Be mindful of your shoulders, ensuring that they remain level and do don’t creep up toward your ears.  Notice any points of tension around the shoulder blades, armpits, and chest.  Feel free to pause at these points and allow full breaths through any tightness.
  5. Slowly bring the head back to a forward gaze, and slide the palms toward their original placement on your thighs.
  6. Repeat as many times as desired. Enjoy the sensations of expansion and a deeper breath!!

Here is some bad news, if left untreated, neck pain can and will lead to eventual disc decompression and definite pain.  I know many of you are nodding, “neck pain is not your friend!”

In good health,


“Good posture and attitude let you get away with anything. -Lorna Landvik”