senior with neck pain looking at phone

Text Neck In Seniors | Easiest Fixes & Best Prevention Tips

If you have a phone chances are you suffer from "Text Neck"

If you thought “Text Neck” was just an issue for the Millenials and Gen Z… you’re in for a surprise. Text Neck in Seniors is just as common. Whether it’s scrolling through social media, staying connected with your grandkids or using your tablet to surf the internet, older adults are spending more and more time looking down at their gadgets.

What is Text Neck?

Text Neck, also called “Tech Neck” is a modern-day issue caused simply by spending too much time looking down at our phones, tablets and gadgets. Even having our computers at the wrong height can lead to it. 

Our necks aren’t meant to be held in that position for so long. Doing so causes some muscles to be overstretched and others to be underdeveloped leading to aches, stiffness & posture issues.

Text neck affecting posture

The Tell-Tale Signs of Text Neck:

First things first, how do you know if Text Neck is haunting you? Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:

  • Persistent neck pain or soreness
  • Stiffness in the neck and shoulders
  • Headaches, especially in the back of the head
  • Upper back pain and discomfort
  • Rounded shoulders and poor posture

Easiest Fixes for Text Neck:

To limit how long your neck is being held in an unhealthy position, try to include these simple fixes into your day:

  • The 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from your device and look at something 20 feet away. This mini eye and neck exercise can work wonders.
  • Hold It Up: Bring your device to eye level instead of constantly looking down. You can adjust the screen angle or use a phone or tablet stand to help you out.
  • Chin Tucks: Do some gentle chin tucks throughout the day. While sitting or standing up straight, slowly tuck your chin in towards your chest and hold for a few seconds. This strengthens the muscles in your neck and can help counteract the strain of Text Neck.

Best Prevention Tips for Text Neck:

Prevention is always better than cure, and avoiding Text Neck is no exception. Here are some tips to keep your neck and posture in top-notch condition:

  • Be Mindful of Your Posture: Whether you’re using your gadgets or not, be conscious of your posture. Keep your shoulders relaxed, spine aligned, and head up.
  • Set Time Limits: It’s easy to lose track of time while enjoying the digital world. Set time limits for your screen use, and take regular breaks to stretch and move around.
  • Stay Active: Engage in regular physical activity like walking, yoga, or swimming. A strong and flexible body is more resistant to the perils of Text Neck.
  • Stretch and Strengthen: Incorporate neck stretches and exercises into your daily routine. Simple neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, and gentle stretches can work wonders.
  • Ergonomics Matters: Ensure that your workspace is ergonomically designed, especially if you spend a lot of time on computers. A well-adjusted chair and monitor can make a world of difference.

Best Exercises & Stretches to Combat Text Neck In Seniors:

For long term relief the #1 thing you can do is stretching & strengthening postural exercises. These bring your body back into alignment and as you regain your posture you’ll find the stiffness & pain in your upper back, shoulders & neck also starts to disappear.

Neck Retraction Exercise

This exercise strengthens the neck muscles and encourages proper alignment, counteracting the forward head posture often associated with Text Neck.

  • Sit or stand up straight with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Slowly draw your chin inward, creating a “double chin” without tilting your head up or down.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, feeling a gentle stretch at the back of your neck.
  • Repeat 5-10 times, ensuring smooth and controlled movements.

Neck Side Stretch

By stretching the neck muscles on each side, this exercise helps alleviate tension and stiffness caused by tilting the head while looking down at devices.

  • Sit or stand with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.
  • Slowly tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds, feeling the gentle stretch on the opposite side of your neck.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Aim for 2-3 repetitions on each side.

Upper Back Stretch

The upper back stretch targets the muscles between the shoulder blades, providing relief from the strain of hunching forward during screen use.

  • Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Clasp your hands in front of you and round your upper back, pushing your hands away from your body.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds, feeling the stretch between your shoulder blades.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

This exercise reinforces good posture and helps to open up the chest, reducing the pressure on the neck and upper back.

  • Sit or stand with your shoulders relaxed.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you’re trying to hold a pencil between them.
  • Hold the squeeze for 5-10 seconds and then release.
  • Repeat 10-15 times, focusing on maintaining proper posture throughout.

Chin Tucks with Resistance

Chin tucks strengthen the neck and upper back muscles while providing resistance enhances their effectiveness, aiding in correcting forward head posture.

  • Sit up straight in a chair, looking forward.
  • Place two fingers on your chin.
  • Gently push your chin backward, creating a double chin, while providing resistance with your fingers.
  • Hold the position for 5-10 seconds, feeling the stretch in your neck.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.

Chest Opener Stretch

By opening up the chest and shoulders, this stretch counteracts the rounding of shoulders often seen in Text Neck, promoting better alignment.

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Clasp your hands behind your back, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Lift your arms slightly and open your chest, looking up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds, feeling the front of your shoulders and chest opening up.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.

Seated Neck Stretch

This stretch targets the muscles on the sides of the neck, releasing tension accumulated from tilting the head downwards while using devices.

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight.
  • Reach your right arm over your head and place your palm on the left side of your head.
  • Gently pull your head to the right, feeling a stretch along the left side of your neck.
  • Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  • Aim for 2-3 repetitions on each side.

Remember, consistency is key! Incorporate these exercises and stretches into your daily routine to keep your neck flexible, strong, and free from the clutches of Text Neck. If you’re a senior suffering from text neck be sure to check out “Neck & Shoulder Relief With Simple Yoga” by Better5 to release that stiffness & the “Fix Your Posture With Chair Pilates” class to bring your body back into alignment.