Dossier: Exercise videos

How to relieve neck tension correctly

Lack of exercise in daily life or incorrect posture at work can quickly lead to painful tension in the neck. Yoga teacher Misty Richardson shows you in the video how to easily relieve neck tension and counteract “tech neck”.

Text: Misty Richardson; photo: Sebastian Doerk

The most common causes of neck tension

There are numerous causes of neck tension, including adopting a hunched posture at your desk, a lack of exercise, the wrong mattress or a poor lying position while sleeping. The problem is exacerbated by spending hours on your smartphone in the tram or train, while on a coffee break or when relaxing on the sofa. This phenomenon is now commonly known as tech neck. The posture we adopt while using our smartphone is anything but ergonomic: our head is usually bent rigidly over the small screen, while our arms are held close to our body. Only our fingers move while typing or swiping. In addition to putting pressure on our eyes, arms, wrists and fingers, this posture is also very bad for our neck and shoulder muscles. And eventually our neck can’t take it any more. That’s why it’s all the more important that we are aware of our posture and take regular breaks throughout the day – even two to three minutes can often make a big difference to our body, but also to our mind. 

Relieve neck tension with gentle yoga exercises

 Doing yoga regularly, ideally every day, can relieve tension in the neck, shoulders and back and even cure tech neck. Before you start the exercises in this video, lay a mat out on the floor and have a cushion to hand. Misty Richardson, a Para Yoga Nidra teacher, guides you through this 14-minute yoga flow sequence that helps release your muscles.

Practical tips from an expert

 

  • Get creative to ensure ergonomic working conditions: “When I work from home, I create a standing desk by putting my side table on the dining room table and placing my computer screen on top. The keyboard and mouse are below,” explains Misty Richardson as she describes her working set-up at home. Her laptop is placed on the dining room table. This way, she can switch between sitting and standing every 1.5 hours without having to rejig her desk. 
  • Take breaks in the fresh air: Use coffee breaks to take a short walk outside instead of reaching automatically for your mobile phone. Daily walks are just as important to Misty as her daily yoga sessions. 
  • Optimise your mattress and pillow: Misty also recommends spending time choosing a suitable pillow and mattress in a bid to prevent neck pain.
  • In serious cases, see a doctor: Is the pain caused by an accident, osteoporosis or a rheumatic disease? “If you suspect there’s a serious underlying reason for your neck pain, be sure to check with a specialist – either a chiropractor, physiotherapist or your family doctor – before trying the exercises in this video,” advises Misty.