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Kathe is joined today by Dr. Anthony Chan at Cachet Rehab Aurora to learn five simple neck stretches that can help alleviate tension and pain. In a world full of smartphones, desktop screens, and tablets, more and more people are finding themselves in debilitating pain caused by an unnatural curve of the spine. When we hunch over to interact with our technology, we create an imbalance in the natural curvature of our back.

Dr. Anthony Chan has seen a number of patients suffering from this specific pain he calls "tech neck". If you suffer from Tech Neck, watch our new video and start your morning with these five stretches. You can even test out these techniques at the water cooler on break at work! Watch the video below for more.

Video Transcription: 5 Stretches to Beat Tech Neck

Kathe:

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to Dr. Ho's Healthy Living Vlog. We are joined today by Dr. Anthony Chan at Cachet Rehab in Aurora. We're going to talk today about something I'm guilty of and that's being hunched over texting on my phone all the time. Now, Dr. Chan, is this something you're seeing more and more of in your practice?

Dr. Chan:

Definitely, Kathe. Nowadays, as you know, most people are working at a nine to five office job hunched over on the computer.

Kathe:

Yup.

Dr. Chan:

Everyone is in this hunched over posture. After work most people are either on their cellphone or their tablets. This brings our shoulders rounded forward, head kind of bent down like that. A lot of tension gets added right into the neck, across the shoulders, and sometimes lead into even headaches as well.

If you look at the spine model here this is what we call neutral posture. Looking at it from the side, our head is here, the neck, mid-back, lower back.

Kathe:

This is what we should be aiming for?

Dr. Chan:

That's right. Normally we should have three natural curves. One at the neck, one at the upper back, and one in the lower back. However, as we get into this hunched over posture the weight of our head pulls everything forward and you see how well that tension gets pulled right into this upper back. That's when we get a lot of that tension and pain in this upper back area.

Kathe:

In that area.

Dr. Chan:

Exactly.

Kathe:

Now, Dr. Chan, are there exercises that we can do at home to help alleviate that tension?

Dr. Chan:

Definitely, Kathe. There are definitely exercises for postural correction. Just to bring the neck back, open up our chest, try to reverse this posture.

Kathe:

Okay. Well, let's get to it. Dr. Chan, starting at the head and working our way down what are some of the exercises we can do to help alleviate that tension in our necks?

Dr. Chan:

For sure. The first one that I teach is a very simple exercise called chin tucks. Okay?

Kathe:

Okay. Pull it back?

Dr. Chan:

Exactly. You pull your head back like that. The main thing you don't want to do is to tuck and look down.

Kathe:

Oh, that hurts.

Dr. Chan:

You want to tuck and just push back. Everything stays forward-facing. Okay?

Kathe:

Okay.

Dr. Chan:

You tuck it in, hold it for two to three long breaths, and that's all there is.

Kathe:

Now maybe kind of working our way down what's something we can do to help with this area?

Dr. Chan:

The next part we work on is these trapezius muscles.

Kathe:

Okay.

Dr. Chan:

People always say they get tension across their shoulders, right around here, but what's really tight is these upper trapezius muscles. A good stretch is another one that I can show through Kathe.

With this, if we want to stretch this side you bring this arm back and then with the other arm you grab the wrists here, pull slightly towards this way. All you have to do now is bring your ear to this shoulder, hold for two, three long breaths, and again, you can feel that nice stretch right there.

Kathe:

Absolutely. Okay.

Dr. Chan:

Changing the head position if you lean forward a bit with your neck or you lean backward a bit, again, you're just stretching different fibers of this muscle.

Kathe:

That's a great one because it's just a few different tilts and I'm getting a really full range of stretch.

Dr. Chan:

Exactly. You're stretching both sides of that muscle, which is more effective?

Kathe:

Oh, okay. That was up here. What if we need to stretch here because we're hunching forward?

Dr. Chan:

Again, with hunching forward, everything we do is try to reverse this posture. A simple one is we call a pec stretch. Again, let's have you turn around, clasp your hands together in the bottom. All you have to do you're going to straighten your arms out and push down. Right there. You're opening up the chest and you're bringing the shoulders down.

As we all know as kids during the wintertime we've done snow angels before. This is a simple movement we call wall angels, which mimics that action.

Kathe:

Rehab can be fun, everyone. We're having fun.

Dr. Chan:

Exactly.

Kathe:

Okay. Let's see these wall angels.

Dr. Chan:

We start with our hip, upper back, and head against the wall. With our hands we start with them right by our side, elbow and back of the hand touching the wall. Slowly we raise them up. Slowly breathe. Making sure as we go up the back of our elbow and hand keep touching the wall. Hold it up here for two to three breaths. Then slowly bring it back down.

Kathe:

Can you maybe show us that stretch you were talking about to help stretch out the [crosstalk 00:04:11]?

Dr. Chan:

Of course. Of course.

Kathe:

All right. I'm going to get out of the way.

Dr. Chan:

No problem. Again, that's to reverse this hunched over posture. Right around the door frame, I'm sure everyone has access to these, we want to place our hands around waist level. All we're going to do with our shoulders nice and relaxed we're just going to walk through the door like that.

As we go through with our hands being here this pulls our chest backwards and opens it up. Again, with this stretch, the higher you put your hand, the more tension you get. That's why I always suggest start at waist level, hold it for two to three breaths. Good stretch. Easy to do.

Kathe:

Dr. Chan, thank you so much for showing us those five easy exercises to help stop that text neck and rounding that we all get from sitting at our desks all day. Until next time, everyone. We'll see you then. Bye.

Dr. Chan:

Bye.

 

 

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