How to Fix ‘Text Neck’ in 3 Easy Steps (Plus: 6 Neck Stretches + Exercises)

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Suffering from a painful neck, shoulders and back? All that texting and bad posture may be to blame. Here are easy, simple ways to fix it.

“Text Neck” or “Computer Neck” happens when your neck juts out forward, droops down, or rounds from spending too much time on your phone or laptop with bad posture. This can lead to major problems down the line, such as muscle pain, pinched nerves, and even a numbness along your arms and hands.

The good news is, you can still use your computer and phone and completely reverse or prevent text neck.

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Let’s go over some simple posture exercises you can do at home or at the office as well as some tips to help stop the bad posture habits that are making the problem worse.

If you think you might have text neck or if your neck is sore and tired all the time, here are the steps to correct it.


3 Common “Text Neck” Mistakes + How to Fix Them

Have someone take pictures of you standing normally, facing to the side, and note these three common posture misalignments:

Forward Head Posture

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Often, we jut our necks towards our screen if we are sitting too low or if the screen is set too high. This can cause chronic pain over time as the further your head “pokes” forward, the more weight your neck needs to support.

How to Fix It: Pretend that there is a string running along the base of your neck to the top of your head. Pull that string so that you are gently lengthening your neck upwards, and tuck in your chin.

Drooping Chin

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If you were to draw a line under your chin, would it be horizontal or slanted down, looking at your phone? This continual bending of your neck can cause upper back pain and shoulder pain; it can even pinch the nerves in your neck, causing pain to radiate down your arms and hands.

How to Fix It: Lift your chin so that it is horizontal and you are looking at your screen straight on.

Rounded Shoulders

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Can you draw a straight line from the middle of your ear through your shoulder or do you see more of a curved shape? Rounded shoulders unnaturally curve your upper back, pushing your head forward, and causing a strain in the neck, back, and shoulder muscles.

How to Fix It: Roll your shoulders back and down, keeping your neck lengthened upward and chin tucked in.

It’s possible, and pretty likely, that some degree of all three of these are going on at the same time. Not to worry. If you do see one (or more than one) of these postural mistakes in your assessment photos, then celebrate! Once you figure out what your neck needs the most, you’ve already taken a huge step towards fixing it. Awareness is the biggest step in postural correction. Throughout your day, you can correct yourself by noticing your habits and straightening your neck.


6 Moves to Strengthen + Stretch Your Neck

Do each of these exercises with mindfulness and awareness of your neck position.

1 set of each exercise should have you feeling the benefits, but you are welcome to repeat and do more sets of those that feel best to you.

Ceiling Peeps | 10 reps

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This helps strengthen the muscles in the back of your neck that get weak from constantly looking forward. It also stretches the front of the neck, helping release any tightness in the front.

  • Start by pulling your chin back just slightly to make sure your neck is in line with your shoulders (straight neck).
  • Look straight ahead to avoid any downward tilt.
  • Look up towards the ceiling and tilt your chin up.
  • Make a conscious effort to flex the muscles in the back of your neck.
  • Lower your chin back to the starting position and repeat.
  • Do 10 consecutive reps, exhaling each time you tilt your head up.

Tick Tocks | 5 reps per side

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This exercise strengthens and stretches muscles on the side of your neck.

  • Drop your right ear towards your right shoulder, but keep your shoulders level.
  • Feel the stretch, then roll to the other side and repeat the stretch.
  • Do 10 tick tocks (5 stretches on each side), exhaling with each stretch.

Scapula Depression | 10 reps

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Scapula depression is great for lengthening the neck and relieving the tight, stiff feeling in your neck and shoulders.

  • Stand with your neck in a neutral position.
  • Lift your shoulder blades up just an inch or two, then press them down and back.
  • Exhale as you flex and drive your shoulder blades down your back.
  • Inhale and release, allowing them to rise up naturally, then repeat.
  • Do 10 reps, inhaling and exhaling deeply with each rep.

Scapula Retraction | 10 reps

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This is one of the best exercises to fix rounded shoulders.

  • Stand with your neck in a neutral position.
  • Roll your shoulders forward to stretch out your entire upper back (focus on moving your shoulder blades apart).
  • Exhale as you contract your shoulder blades together and roll your shoulders back,
  • Do 10 reps, inhaling and exhaling deeply with each rep.

Stretch Band Rows | 10 reps

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Strengthen your delts and traps at the same time as opening up your chest.

  • Loop a small, light-strength resistance band around your hands.
  • Hold your arms straight out in front of you at chest height.
  • Stretch the band apart, then pull in towards the bottom of your rib cage.
  • Lift your chest and squeeze your elbows together behind you.
  • Straighten your arms again and repeat.
  • Do 10 reps, exhaling each time you row in and inhaling as you lengthen.

Stretch Band Pull Aparts | 10 reps

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Treat this exercise similar to the scapula retraction and focus on bringing your shoulder blades together behind you.

  • Grab onto the loop resistance band with closed fists.
  • Hold your arms straight out in front of you at chest height.
  • Pull the band apart as you bring your shoulder blades together.
  • Flex your back muscles, then slowly return back to the starting position.
  • Take a 3-second count as you release the tension.
  • Do 10 reps, exhaling with each pull apart and inhaling as you bring it back together.

More Posture Tips:

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  • Elevate your work space. Stack books underneath your computer to lift it up to eye level, or use a standup desk.
  • Lift your phone up to eye level when using your phone. Simply hold the phone up towards your face instead of looking down below chest height.
  • Turn off notifications, set the ringer on silent, or make a plan to check your phone only 3-6 times per day instead of every few minutes. Minimize the opportunities for your neck to get bent out of shape.

Reassess Your Posture in 1 Month

Mark it on your calendar and take pictures again so you can see the progress you’ve made. This kind of awareness helps fix the problem and you should see dramatic improvement in a few weeks if you work on it daily.

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