Pilates reformer

Preventing Tech Neck with Pilates

Although our reliance on technology has always been a root cause for certain health issues, our dependence on technology during lockdown increased the number of people feeling the strains and pains due to using laptops and phones for everything. From meetings at work to family get-togethers, and from classes at school to grocery shopping, laptops and phones became lifelines to our world, and that technological reliance hasn’t reduced to pre-pandemic levels as businesses realize just how well some of their employees perform in remote situations.

Even those avid about fitness find themselves feeling the strain of tech neck throughout the day. If you notice issues with your neck, shoulders, and back, especially while or after working on your computer or using your phone, you’re not alone. The good news is that you can prevent and even reverse tech neck using a Pilates reformer in addition to simple techniques you can apply while working. This post takes a look at tech neck, its symptoms, and how you can use your Pilates equipment at home to prevent tech neck from affecting you.

Pilates reformer

Tips for Preventing Tech Neck

Because posture primarily causes tech neck, you may think simply sitting up straighter is the solution. However, when you tilt your head while using your computer or phone, you constantly change the angle of your head and thus your posture. These small angle changes have a big impact when using our screens in an unsupported position.

With so many of us starting our day in front of a screen and tied to it throughout the workday and even at night, it’s no wonder so many people feel the effects of tech neck. To alleviate and prevent tech neck, follow these tips:

  • Practice Pilates with a Pilates reformer. You may find yourself in a fitness slump when you’re feeling the effects of tech neck. The aches and pains in your shoulders, neck, and back may leave you feeling like you can’t get back to working out until you solve the problem. However, with your Pilates equipment at home, you can incorporate a whole-body workout any time of the day, offering mindful movements meant to increase your strength, flexibility, and mobility. The workouts can help decrease stress in your body and help you maintain good posture while strengthening the muscles that support your head while you work.
  • Focus on posture. Pilates reformer exercises help you to not only build good posture but also increased body awareness. As you go through the movements in Pilates, you focus on how your body is aligned and become mindful of how your muscles create certain movements. The mindful movements you make in a Pilates workout help to increase your body awareness so that you’re better focused on posture—and how to correct it—throughout your day.
  • Keep stress low. When working at a screen in an unsupported position, you already cause stress to your muscles and tendons, but if you’re feeling pressure from work, a deadline, or family obligations, that mental stress can manifest in physical forms. Perhaps you think the answer to tech neck is giving up on digital connections completely for a while, but you don’t have to. With the Pilates reformer from Frame Fitness, you can help alleviate tech neck with the first at-home, digitally connected Pilates reformer.
  • Adjust your screen. You can place your screen in an optimal position to reduce tech neck while you work. You have a few options for adjustment. First, place your screen directly in front of you so that you aren’t stretching your neck to the side. It sounds simple, but while having your screen positioned on the corner of your desk may be esthetically pleasing and help you make eye contact with others in the room or office, you need your screen right in front of you when you’re working. Next, you can adjust the distance your monitor sits away from you and the height at which it sits. This will be different, depending on your needs, but you want your monitor positioned so that your head and neck are in a neutral position—you don’t want your chin jutting out or down or your neck stretched forward or to the side.
  • Get up, move, and stretch. Circulation is your friend. Take frequent breaks from sitting in front of your screen so that you can move, stand up, and stretch. Go through a few Pilates movements and refocus yourself on posture and alignment. Even a quick walk through the office or your home can relieve the tension you might be holding in your neck and shoulders.
  • See a professional. If exercising, good posture, and repositioning your screen don’t alleviate your aches and pains or they get worse, you may need to seek the help of a professional who can help evaluate your needs.

Pilates reformer

What Is Tech Neck?

Rarely do we even consider the size and weight of our heads unless we’re nodding off to sleep, but our heads are bigger than we think. The average adult head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds when the spine is properly aligned. However, bending your head down just slightly to read something on your computer screen or bending even further to scroll through alerts on your phone can increase the weight your neck must support by an additional 15 to 50 pounds of weight.

As you look down, the muscles in your neck must contract, and the steeper the angle, the more weight they must support. Unfortunately, your neck’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments can’t hold up to that kind of pressure for long periods of time, which causes strain and other issues related to tech neck. As your neck struggles to support the weight, other muscles pitch in to compensate from your shoulders and back, which also suffer from prolonged periods of strain.

Typically, when you’re hunched over or when your neck juts forward, you pull your spine out of proper alignment, putting yourself into a position where your posture becomes unsupported. Add in stress from everyday occurrences, and the tension in your body can increase physical symptoms associated with tech neck, including:

  • Discomfort to downright aches and pains in your lower neck, shoulders, and upper back
  • Decreased mobility in your neck, shoulders, and upper back
  • Headaches
  • Tingling or numbness in your arms and hands

If you suspect you have aches and discomfort caused by tech neck, you can use the tips discussed earlier to reverse it. If you let it go, however, you could put yourself at risk for long-term issues. As your back muscles tighten, you put more pressure on your discs, which makes them wear out faster. So beginning a healthy routine of exercise, rest from your screen, and healthy posture and screen positioning can support long-term goals for your health and well-being.

You can’t completely unplug, and that’s understandable. However, you can take steps to create a healthier work and social environment when you are plugged in. Distributing your weight properly, including the weight of your head, demands core strength, stability, and good posture. Pilates can help develop a strong core, creating a foundation for core stability, and the body awareness you practice through each movement can increase your mindfulness of posture throughout the day.

Practicing Pilates reformer exercises adds a host of benefits to your health. Not only can you increase your energy but you also increase your strength and mobility while reducing the stress and tension held in your body. When it comes to tech neck and other injuries, a Pilates reformer offers a safe and practical means of working out that increases your body awareness to help prevent injuries in the future.

Some consider workouts to be a means to an athletic end, to take part in a competition, to lift more weight, and so on. While Pilates can certainly help you meet your athletic goals, you can feel the positive effects of Pilates in your everyday life. From increased mobility and strength to a reduction in aches and pains, Pilates works your physical and mental self, enhancing your health and well-being for a lifetime.

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