Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. With all the recent sitting, waiting in line for kids in that famous pickup line, lots of people have been calling because their neck is very, very stiff. They've been wondering if there are things that they can do to help with that. So I thought I would do a video on that. If you are a parent who has been suffering through sitting through those ridiculously long school pickup lines, and now your neck is just killing you from reading your phone and trying to entertain yourself while you're waiting in line. This video is perfect for you.
There's actually this new term that's been picked up, it's called tech neck. In this video, we're gonna talk about what tech neck is. The anatomy of it, a few tips that you can do to get rid of it. Then my suggestion on the fastest way to make sure this does not continue to keep coming back for you.
Let's talk about the anatomy. Your neck has seven vertebrae and they are all supposed to bend forward one at a time. They're supposed to inch forward just a little bit, each one of 'em. That gives you a nice curve. If you look at your kids, sometimes it depends on how old your kids are, because they all start pretty early and get in that forward head. But if you look at them, they stand up, their ears are over their shoulders and they have this nice little curve in the back of their neck, this nice little curve, it's not a dramatic curve. It's just a nice little curve and when they bend their head, it doesn't come forward. It just tilts down.
It's amazing, no adult head looks like that. But as we get older and of course technology, what happens is we tend to bend forward at the lower levels in our neck. Instead of having this nice little incremental curve, we start to just move your whole neck as one unit. I can do it too, because we can all do it, right?
We just come down, put our chin to our chest and we hang out there because we're looking at our phones or typing on our iPads or our computers. Then we have to talk to other people. So then what happens is we look up. Now not only are we forward there, but now we're hinging at just the top levels of our spine. So we're not utilizing each one of our vertebrae evenly. We're kind of relying on two joints to help us flex forward and then extend back so we can see the rest of the world.
Over time that adds extra stress to those areas. It also makes us keep our necks very rigid and very stiff. So again, instead of each individual vertebrae taking on a little bit of the stress, we're overloading typically like two or three joints. That is why if you've ever gone someplace and they told you that you have a straight neck, that's what they're talking about.
They're saying that because of the way that you're moving, everything is just very rigid and stiff. Oftentimes you can go get somebody to help you with that pretty quick and help you realign that. For many people they feel wonderful for weeks, months, years, and then it comes back and they have the same discomfort because eventually you fall back into the same patterns that you did.
As I stated early in this video, now those kid pickup lines are ridiculous. You're like a mile and half down. You wait for 15 minutes because you try to get there a little bit early. So you're a little closer into the line and you're just stuck there. And let's not talk about car seats because that could be a whole nother election where your head gets pushed forward by the fact that they don't want you to get whiplash in an accident. So now your head's stuck forward, even if you wanna sit up straight anyway, that could be a whole different video.
But what do you do, because you can't change the fact that we live on computers and devices. So what is it that you can do? You could retrain how you stand up and where you think your head position is, simply by looking in the mirror. If you stand up nice and tall and you're looking in the mirror and you figure out where neutral is so that you're not here and you look and you see, okay, well this is where a normal is. Every time you look at yourself in the mirror, you could realign yourself and get used to what that feels like.
Eventually that won't feel like you have a double chin and eventually it won't feel like you're trying to walk with a stick along the back of your spine, it'll feel normal.
The other things that you can do are stretching. Simply trying to bring your ear to go to your shoulder and allowing the other side of your neck to stretch. You'll see videos where people are pulling. Honestly, sometimes just making it to where you'll feel it, is too intense for people. So just getting comfortable, stretching your ear to your shoulder is a great way to start.
You would do both sides. You’ll just hang out here for whatever you can. Now, if this is too painful and you can't even hang this way, you could actually support your head so that it takes a little bit of the weight off to allow this muscle to relax. So that is one way.
Then the other way is to try to strengthen the front of your neck, which seems a little bit weird, but essentially you're just trying to say yes. So you would just nod as if you're saying yes. So those are three ways that you can try to do that from your home on your own.
Now the fastest way to make sure that you know exactly what's going on with your spine and to address the specific problems that you are having. Especially if this is something that keeps reoccurring, like some people have this annually, some people have this monthly, some people get neck pain and neck stiffness so often that they get headaches from it. There can be lots of reasons that your neck is this susceptible. Off the top of my head, it could be your teeth could be grinding at night. You could have a very stressful job. You've changed the way that you're breathing and that adds extra stress to your neck.
So all these little things can add up and it's really hard to decipher what that is on your own. So the fastest way to make sure that you know exactly what's happening with your neck and to get this to stop recurring, however often it's reoccurring for you, is to see a movement specialist.
I help people all the time, figure out the best pillow that they should be using and how to determine that. I help people figure out how to strengthen and balance everything out in their neck, between breathing and their spinal alignment. How to stretch properly, how to actually strengthen your neck. Because that's a weird thing and create those special plans specifically for them. So that they're not just getting generic, they just found this on the internet and it works for a wide conglomerate of people, but it didn't actually work for them.
Nobody wants to be floundering around trying to figure out what the best exercises are and how to do them correctly. It's very overwhelming.
That's what I help people do. We take away the guesswork, we come up with a specific plan that helps you get your results the fastest. If you are looking for this type of care and you just wanna know how it works and you just want maybe to send me an email because I know phone calls can be difficult. I will leave my contact information in the comments below.
If you would like to get on the phone and just chat for a few minutes to find out how this works and ask me some specific questions about your case and what's going on with your neck. Because sometimes people have a very extensive history. I will leave that contact information also. There'll be a quick form for you to fill out and that way we make sure that we contact you when it's a better time for you. So we don't just randomly call you.
All right. Well, I hope that you are having a lovely day and that we have made school pickup lines just a little bit easier for you, have a lovely day.
Looking for more information like these? click the links below
The pitfalls of neck fusions
Picking the best pillow for your neck
Learning how to stop neck pain at home
Holy neck pain
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald