Smartphones, tablets, computers – they’re part of everyone’s work and off-work life. But all that looking down at our devices, keyboards and poorly place computer screens takes a toll on the body.
Neck muscles not only weaken but our spines become curved. Over time, this creates a hump at the base of the neck and a hunched over appearance even when standing up. It’s called Dowager’s Hump in the elderly where it’s often the result of advanced osteoporosis. For the younger set, it’s called Smartphone or Computer Neck Syndrome.
The good news is that before this condition becomes debilitating, there’s a lot you can do to prevent and even repair current damage. And none of these solutions cost much money – or time. But what they do require is a conscious effort and commitment. Check out our tips, below, and make them into daily habits. Your neck and shoulders will thank you.
If you have a tilting or reclining chair, lean back to type or browse things your phone, tablet or computer screen. That way, your body and neck can’t hunch or bend. If you’ve got a high back chair, roll something or buy a neck support for more comfort.
Get a neck support that wraps around your whole neck or turn that “U” shaped one around to the front to keep your chin from dropping to your chest. A neck wrap is another option. Not as rigid or medicinal looking as a neck brace, it has a similar effect of keeping the neck aligned.
Lower Back Support
Sit all the way back in your chair and place a rolled-up bath towel or lumbar cushion in the small of your back. This can force your upper back and neck into their upright position. To make typing more comfortable, get a chair with adjustable arm rests and set them so your forearm aligns with the keyboard and your upper arm as close to a 90-degree angle to your forearm as possible.
Bend from the Waist
When you need to look down while you’re sitting, keeping shoulders back, bend from the waist instead of the shoulder or neck. If you’re wearing a neck support, it will be easy to keep you chin up. If not, try to maintain your back and neck in a straight line.
Simple neck and shoulder stretches will help overcome some of the effects of neck slumping. Turn your head left to right, touch your ear to your shoulder or press your palm on your forehead as you push your head into your palm. Do these as often as possible throughout the day.
Take breaks to stand with your back to a wall. Straighten your shoulders and rest your head on the wall. Stay that way for 30 seconds or so to get yourself used to proper neck and shoulder alignment.