3 min read

Dr. Natalie Lopez Gundin

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Prevent Text Neck Pain With These Three Exercises

Text neck, or what is otherwise also known as “tech neck,” is a catchy term coined to describe forward head posture after hours glued to your phone, laptop, or TV.

Text neck may lead to stiffness, and dull pain either felt at the top of the neck or the lower neck close to the shoulders. For some people, the sustained tension in their neck can lead to cervicogenic headaches, or what is commonly known as tension headaches.

People’s resting postures where their head is forward, rounded upper, or rounded shoulders are just a few of the symptoms that lead to text neck. The longer you have forward head posture, the more force gets placed on the neck. Without proper prevention, this feeling of discomfort or tightness may eventually lead to other issues like nerve irritations, headaches, thoracic outlet syndrome, or disc bulges.

To help defend your body from neck pain, try these three exercises.

Seated Chin Tucks
Girl doing chin tuck
Start position Bring your hand behind your head and tuck in your chin. Press the back of your head into your hands, while looking straight ahead.

End position After 5 seconds, release the tucked chin position.You should feel a stretch at the top of your neck and a slight contraction on the front of your neck.

Complete 8 x, every 30 minutes.

Chin Tuck and Wall Angels
Girl doing chin tuck and wall angels

Start position Lean against a wall, either standing or seated and begin to tuck your chin. Bring your arms up into shoulder height with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.

End position Slide the arms up and down the wall in a snow angel position, and maintain the chin tuck throughout. It’s essential to try to keep the backside of the forearm against the wall during this movement (if you can’t, that’s okay go as for back as you can).

You should feel a slight stretch on the back of the neck, a stretch in your chest and a slight contraction at the back of your shoulders. If your shoulders are tight this will feel like a bit of work on the front of the shoulders

Complete 8-10 reps, every 1-2 hours.

Thoracic Spine Extension
Girl stretching her back Girl stretching her back
Start position You can use the side of your couch, bed, or desk/table. With either your elbows bent or arms straight (whichever is most comfortable), slowly bring your chest down and your head through your arms.

End position Now begin to round your spine as high up as you can. Repeat and continue this movement through your upper back.

You should feel a stretch in your upper back between your shoulder blades and in your armpits.

Complete 10 reps, every 1-2 hours.

3 min read

Rebecca Armstrong

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Five Commute Exercises To Do For Neck Pain and Lower Back Pain

Typical activities while commuting, like staring at your phone or reading, also increases neck tension.

Your commute, plus sitting at work, is a lot of time that your lower back is inactive; therefore, causing lower back pain. “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. While we may not be able to do anything about the commutes (aside from relocating closer to our workplaces), we can optimize our time commuting to ensure your body won’t feel the after effects of logging countless hours on the bus or train.

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Get on/off your stop earlier

Depending on what your job is, you may already be spending most of your day sitting at a desk. Why not change up your routine and get on or off at a farther stop. Walking a few extra blocks will help activate your glutes which can contribute to decreasing lower back pain. Walking will also allow you to spend a bit more time each day in an extension position which will counteract all the hours spent in flexion at work. It’s also an excellent opportunity to destress from the day and reflect on things you may need to get done at home.

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Practice your balance while riding public transit

This one is almost forced some days when the bus, streetcars or subways are full to the brim and there are no handrails to hold. But granted you are relatively stable as is (i.e. no severe balance issues), use this time to practice your balance by standing with no handrail support. The movement of the vehicle will provide external perturbation which will challenge your proprioception. Safety tip: it’s recommended to do this near a handrail in the event a significant bump, or sharp turn unexpectedly happens.

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Use the handrails for stretching

As mentioned, many of us spend a significant portion of our days in a flexed forward posture. This positioning has many adverse effects on our bodies,neck pain being a main culprit. Why not use your commutes to help you stretch out these tight structures? Use the handrails to get in a pec stretch or use two and stretch out those hip flexors. Anyone staring is just jealous they never thought of it.

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If you MUST sit, actively sit
Unless your commute is more than an hour, do your best to stand for most of it. This is especially true for those of us who will be sitting the rest of the day. However, if you need to sit, make sure to sit actively. When sitting, don’t slouch, don’t sit at the front of the seat and lean back and don’t lean excessively to the side. Instead, sit back in your seat, use the backrest for lumbar spine support and engage your core. For added benefit, perform seated cat/camels to keep your spine moving.

 

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Read or listen to podcasts while avoiding forward head posture

Using the dreaded commute for your personal gain can actually cause you to enjoy your time spent on public transit. However, with the crowded buses, streetcars, and subways, taking out your laptop may not be feasible. Try downloading some motivational podcasts or books that will help you to prepare for your day or week.

When reading, make sure to keep your posture in mind. Keep your elbows close to your sides and use them to prop your book up to eye level to avoid excessive neck flexion and forward head posture. When you’re finished, do a quick stretch for the front of your neck by extending, rotating and side bending until you feel a gentle stretch. Follow up with some chin tucks and you’ll be ready to start or finish your day right.

2 min read

Dr. Kevin Marryshow

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Four Text Neck Exercises To Avoid Text Neck Syndrome

At this point in the tech generation, it’s safe to say that majority of the population has a smartphone. Unfortunately, we all are susceptible to text neck syndrome. However, small changes to the way you consume content on your phone can make all the difference between a healthy neck and text neck.

Check out these four simple exercises and neck pain stretches for your neck pain!

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1. Neck problems from cell phones can be fixed by simply bringing your phone a little closer to your face. It makes the world of a difference!

Ultimately, you decide on positioning; your phone doesn’t. By putting 10 degrees of extension in your neck (bringing your head back up) can alleviate about 10lbs of sustained weight on your neck. As long as you’re more conscious about positioning, it’ll help you find opportunities to bring your phone up to your face.

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2. Talk more and text less

We have lost our ability to make more genuine connections. We don’t even call to wish each other happy birthday anymore. We pretty much say all of our well wishes with one emoticon. In a day in age where hearing a voice over the phone is rare take advantage. It could set you apart in many ways and give you a competitive edge.

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3. Tuck your elbows – it provides you with a checkpoint

When you tuck your elbows into your body it gives you no room to drop your arms down any more. When your arms drop down your head will just end up following.

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4. Get into the habit of simple and quick neck exercises

Working on the deep neck flexors is an excellent way to create a stretch of your back neck muscles that tend to tighten up. It also builds the strength of the muscles deep in the front of the neck that tends to get weaker and inhibited because of always texting on your phone.

  1. Lie on your back
  2. Tuck your chin slightly
  3. Raise your head up just high enough to force you to contract the muscles in the front of your neck against gravity
  4. Slowly continue to raise your head into more neck flexion (chin down to to chest)
  5. Don’t let your chin jut forward
  6. Hold for 30 sec (or whatever time you can tolerate. Many of you will be super tired after 10secs)
  7. Repeat 3x daily

2 min read

How To Properly Sit At Your Desk

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How To Properly Sit At Your Desk

 

The majority of people sit either with a flat lumbar spine or overarched lumbar spine. 

Sitting incorrectly creates improper compensations, inefficient use of the musculature and compression of the spinal disk. These dysfunctional sitting postures can be carried over into standing and movement patterns which can have a drastic effect on your health.

Also, sitting while under stress (i.e. at work) taps into your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). Since you can’t punch your boss, out (fight) or run away from work (flight), your sympathetic nervous system is on overload constantly even when you get home. You cannot tap back into your parasympathetic nervous system to rest and digest, that is why so many people cannot sleep well and have poor digestion. By repeating the cycle day in and day out, it’s no wonder why people die prematurely.

So how do you resolve this? Well, for starters try to not to sit so much. Go for walks, find a movement practice to destress, and meditate.

If you have to sit, sit with a posture that is supportive for your structure.

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Many of us spend way too much time sitting at work with a posture that is not supportive for our bone structure and tissues.

Sitting up straight and pulling your shoulders back are important to keep in mind, but they are difficult to do unless you keep your pelvis neutral. How do I do that?

  • Find your “SITS” bones. Get in a chair and when you feel two hard/firm bumps, you want to sit right on top of them. If you tilt your butt back, you will feel them move backwards.
  • Try to slouch upper body without allowing your pelvis to posterior tilt.
  • Come back up then allow your pelvis to posterior tilt (Tuck tail under). You will notice your upper body drop into a slouch
  • Keeping your pelvis in posterior tilt, try to straighten your spine, so you are upright.

It’s hard to keep everything lined up if your pelvis is not level but it’s so much easier when it is!

1 min read

Michael Bercasio

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Forward Head Posture Is Affecting Your Brain

 

It’s not uncommon to see a patient walk into the Myodetox office with a twelve-pound head that’s migrated three inches forward on their body because of Forward Head Posture (FHP).

Forward Head Posture is a common problem for a lot of people, amongst other postural issues. Over time, Forward Head Posture will cause significant damage to the spine, in what is otherwise a preventable injury.

Did you know for every inch of Forward Head Posture, the weight of the head on the spine increases by an additional ten pounds?

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The rampant spread of this particular posture issue is partly due to our society’s addiction to prolonged sitting, and through excessive use of tablets and smartphones (damn you, Snapchat). By doing so, your forward posture can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine!

Forward Head Posture has also been shown to affect the brain negatively. Research shows that 90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine. Therefore, less cervical movement results in less nutrition to the brain. Only ten percent of the brain has to do with thinking, metabolism, and healing.

Research shows that 90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine.

Consequently, FHP will cause the brain to rob energy from thinking, metabolism and immune function to deal with abnormal gravity/posture relationships and processing.