Simple workouts to ease ‘tech neck’ pains and headaches
With work-from-home remaining the default arrangement, many people will continue to slouch over the screen all day for work and meetings for a prolonged period.
This dreaded "tech neck" posture can cause aches and pains in the back, neck and shoulders, and may lead to headaches and even migraines that can affect your mood along with the quality of your sleep.
Recovery athlete Cristina Chan from international fitness community F45 offers a list of low intensity workouts to stretch your body out - focusing on mobility through the jaw, back, neck and shoulders - and help alleviate headaches.
Upper trapezius stretching
The trapezius, one of the upper back muscles, often becomes stiff and tight after a long day in front of the desk.
To stretch it, all you need to do is bring your right ear as close to your right shoulder as possible.
Gently pull your head to the right from the left side of your head without hiking your shoulders up.
Hold the position for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.
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A daily two-minute workout with resistance bands can reduce tension in the neck and shoulders as well as relieve headaches.
To do a band pull-apart, hold a light resistance band in front of you with your arms out straight and pull it apart as far as possible, making sure not to shrug your shoulders as you go.
Keep the shoulder blades together and hold the pose before returning to the start position.
They are a great way to align your head, neck and shoulder posture.
All you need to do is sit up tall with your back straight against the back of the chair and bring the chin towards the front of the throat without tilting the head, assist with two fingers on the chin if needed.
Hold the position for five seconds and then relax.
Research has shown that aerobic exercises decrease migraine duration and pain level.
If you cannot squeeze in a walk during lunchtime, schedule a walking meeting over the phone, which is a great way to get work done as well as exercise and get some fresh air.
Cycling and going for a run are alternatives for people looking for a more high-intensity workout.
Moving through some dynamic stretches can help reduce muscle tightness and tension in the head, neck and shoulders.
To loosen the muscles that may cause headaches, start with a downward dog or cat-cow stretch, which both increase blood circulation and relax the mind.
To do a downward dog, put your hands and feet on the floor, and tilt your hips up toward towards the ceiling, creating a V-shape with your body and feeling the stretch through your hamstrings.
If you cannot straighten your legs in this position, you can bend the knees softly.
For the cat-cow stretch, place your hands and knees on the floor and round out your back, tucking your chin towards your chest.
You can then flow the opposite way, scooping your back to stretch out your abdominal muscles and tip your chin towards the sky.
Continue to move through these alternating positions slowly as you take deep breaths in and out.