Neck pain is a symptom of digitized times. If you are reading these lines, you are probably sitting at a table, on a train, in a shop or standing somewhere – waiting and surfing the net. Because meanwhile around 30.7 million people in Germany also use the Internet on the go . The average user stares at their smartphone 700 to 1400 hours a year. Your head will be tilted and this will put a strain on your back and shoulder and neck area. For example, I’ve been plagued by neck pain since my studies – a synonym for sitting with my head bowed forward.
Cause of neck pain: Lowered head
Why is it painful to watch mobile phones and work on the computer? When the head is straight, the cervical spine has to support a head weight of around five kilograms. Even at an incline of 45 degrees, it has to hold around 23 kilograms – almost five times as much. Head posture should therefore not be underestimated as a cause of neck pain. In the task of keeping your head down, the muscles in your neck are constantly tense. If the movement is not balanced, the blood circulation decreases, the muscles cramp over time and the connective tissue, the fascia, stick together . Doctors are talking more and more about the neck of a cell phone, since the New York spine surgeon Kenneth Hansraj has shown the effects of increasing smartphone use in a study in 2014 .
Treating Neck Pain: Targeted Movements
In the worst phases I already felt a pull from my shoulder over my neck into my head in the morning. Damn neck pain, what to do I have often asked myself that. Because massages and physiotherapy helped against it – but only for a short time. Targeted training in the gym then worked a miracle: it prevented tension. The area around the neck and shoulders, which for a long time I had only known rock hard and sensitive to pressure, remained loose after a new massage cycle. It went smoothly for years: my back exercises, my gym and I, we were a successful team in the fight against neck pain.
But then I moved and couldn’t find a studio that was really accessible. My shoulder-arm-back training became more sporadic. It was still enough for a long time to save me from the worst hardening of the neck. But at some point the protective effect was used up. So I looked for an exercise program that met a few specific requirements for office workers who work on computers.
- It has to be done quickly.
- It has to be feasible everywhere: sitting at the chair, standing in the stairwell, etc.
- It has to do without devices.
I tried around for a while because there are so many exercises for the neck. Amazing for me: The very typical ones weren’t the most helpful for me. In the course of time a set of 4 exercises developed for me, which I present to you in 3 super short videos plus a picture here. Because after years of experience with neck pain, my credo is:
Neck Pain What To Do This question can only be answered individually. The good news: There is a solution, you just have to patiently test various things. The only thing that really makes things worse is doing nothing.
Let’s go: Here you can see my favorite exercises for neck pain:
Video 1: Gentle stretching – exercise for neck pain
Keeps you supple, increases mobility, relaxes immediately Just do it a couple of times on each side. More slowly than fast. Important: keep your shoulders down, keep your head straight, your chin slightly lowered and your elbows back until they point to the side. You should feel upright while doing it! Keep breathing regularly.
Video 2: Release tension – exercise against neck pain
Desk work pulls the shoulders forward. That shortens the chest muscles. You have to work against this, because a basic principle for effective training is: always consider both sides. In the case of the neck, not only the back side, but also the muscles in front.
Here, too, the following applies: Simply take it slowly a few times, feeling the changed tension and posture. A feeling of space, of letting go is ideal. Important: let your shoulders loosely down, do not pull them up and cramp. Keep your head and back straight. Raise arms to shoulder height, no further. Breathe regularly.
Video 3: Light stretching – exercise for neck pain
Movement – dynamic stretching in this case – helps blood flow through the muscles. This is essential so that you and the fascia remain loose. During this exercise, slowly turn left and right five times as far as possible until you feel a slight pull in your lower back. Important: keep your shoulders down, keep your head straight, your chin slightly lowered and your elbows back until they point to the side. Tense your abdominal muscles. Keep breathing regularly.
If you like, you can even increase this exercise: For the last turn, bend slightly forward on each side so that the front elbow bends a little towards the floor. Keep short. Stand up again.
Finally: stretch and stretch
Make it really big: what a treat! To do this, stretch your arms over your head, become completely upright and then consciously make it a little longer. Feel how you practically grow. Stretch one side a little more, then the other, then both at the same time. The important thing is to pull your left shoulder up, sometimes your right, and then lower it again, this promotes blood circulation. Keep your head straight, do not tilt back. Breathe regularly. To compensate at the end: Let your upper body and arms hang forward. Loosely dangle and shake out.
I hope that you can now see the question “Neck pain – what to do?” A little more clearly and, above all, that you have new courage and desire to do something about it. Maybe you know a brilliant exercise or have a question, then put it in our comments!