With work from home remaining the default, many people will slouch at the screen all day for work and meetings for extended periods of time.
This dreaded “tech neck” pose can cause back, neck, and shoulder pain, and lead to headaches and even migraines that can affect your mood and the quality of your sleep.
Recreational athlete Cristina Chan of the F45 international fitness community offers a list of low-intensity workouts to stretch your body – with an emphasis on jaw, back, neck, and shoulder mobility – and for headache relief.
Stretch of the upper trapezius
The trapezius, one of the upper back muscles, often becomes stiff and tense after a long day in front of the desk.
To stretch it, all you have to do is bring your right ear as close to your right shoulder as possible.
From the left side of your head, pull your head to the right without moving your shoulders up.
Hold the position for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.
Exercising with resistance bands for two minutes a day can reduce tension in the neck and shoulder area and relieve headaches.
To pull a band apart, hold a light resistance band in front of you with your arms outstretched and pull it apart as far as you can, being careful not to shrug your shoulders.
Hold your shoulder blades together and hold the pose before returning to the starting position.
They are a great way to align your head, neck, and shoulder posture.
All you have to do is sit upright with your back straight against the back of the chair and bring your chin to the front of the neck without tilting your head and, if necessary, support your chin with two fingers.
Hold the position for five seconds, then relax.
Research has shown that aerobic exercise reduces the duration of migraines and the level of pain.
If you can’t go for a walk at lunchtime, call to schedule a walking meeting. This is a great way to get work done, exercise, and get some fresh air.
Cycling and running are alternatives for people looking for more intense exercise.
To loosen up the muscles that can be causing headaches, start with a downward-facing dog or cat-cow stretch that both stimulates blood circulation and relaxes the mind.
To do a downward facing dog, place your hands and feet on the floor and tilt your hips toward the ceiling to form a V shape with your body and feel the stretch through your hamstrings.
If you can’t straighten your legs in this position, you can gently bend your knees.
For the cat-cow stretch, place your hands and knees on the floor and round your back, pulling your chin toward your chest.
You can then flow in the opposite direction by scooping your back to stretch your abs and tilt your chin toward the sky.
Keep moving slowly through these alternating positions as you inhale and exhale deeply.