Four Exercises to Relieve Text Neck (Chiropractor-Approved)

What causes text neck?

There’s a very high chance that you’re reading this piece from a mobile device, thus engaging in the text neck position. Text neck means a head forward, rounded shoulders, and back slumped posture. Unfortunately, text neck is a massive epidemic.

People spend at least five hours daily staring at their phones. Unfortunately, this continuous staring can lead to severe aches and pains in the neck. Medical researchers at Harvard Medical Health say that approximately 7 out of 10 people will have neck aches at some point in their lives.

So, what does a text neck do to your body? Simple! It compresses the tendon, muscle, and ligament structures in front of your neck and tightens the ligament, tendon, and muscle structures behind your neck. In addition, your head weighs approximately 10 pounds. So, for every inch your head tilts forward, your neck carries double the weight. That extra strain adds up over time.

But it is unthinkable to ditch our mobile devices. I dare say that it is nearly impossible. So, what we can do instead is to engage in the correct exercises to prevent the aches and pains that cause text neck.

Image by Michael O’Keene |Adobe Stock

Exercises to relieve text neck

Exaggerated nod

How to do the exaggerated nod

  • Begin by standing or sitting comfortably at your desk with your shoulders relaxed. Next, close your mouth — with teeth touching but not clenching, then look up to the ceiling.
  • Pause and allow your jaw to relax, then open your mouth. Next, try bringing your head further back one or two inches (you should be able to).
  • Keep your head still and bring your lower jaw to your upper jaw, closing your mouth. You will feel the front of your neck stretching.

The exaggerated nod helps to counterbalance the downward/forward head position. It pulls your shoulders back and down and increases your neck mobility.

Downward-facing dog

The downward-facing dog exercise helps to open the shoulders and the anterior chest wall. Both parts are often rounded and tightened due to excessive usage of tech devices. Downward-facing dog enhances upper body strength, meaning that if you don’t have shoulder strength, you might compensate by scrunching your shoulders to your ears. If you find yourself doing this, draw your shoulder blades actively down your back. This will create a space in your neck.

How to do the downward-facing dog

  • Start on all fours. Tuck in your toes, lift your hips high and reach your hip bones to the ceiling.
  • Reach your heels back toward the mat, but do not allow them to plank on the ground.
  • Drop your head. This will allow your neck to be extended. As you remain in this position, ensure that your wrist creases are parallel to the front edge of the mat.
  • To relieve the pressure on your wrists, press into the knuckles of your thumbs and forefingers.
  • Breathe for up to three deep breaths. Release.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR on Unsplash

Cat cow

Your core and pelvis drive the cat-cow flow. For example, while inhaling, you create an anterior tilt to your pelvis, which makes your tailbone face the ceiling, and as you exhale, you create a posterior tilt so that your tailbone turns towards the ground. This movement sequence will enhance spinal awareness, a significant part of less-than-perfect posture.

How to do the cat-cow posture

  • Start on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, your hips stacked over your knees, and the tops of your feet pressed into the ground. Look down a few inches in front of your fingers and lengthen from your head down to your tailbone.
  • To begin the ‘cat’ phase, use your abs to curl your spine toward the ceiling while tucking in your tailbone (making the shape of a Halloween cat) as you exhale. Next, lengthen your neck and allow your chin to reach down toward your chest, so your ears come down by your biceps.
  • To begin the ‘cow’ phase, swoop and scoop your pelvis so your belly drops to the floor as you inhale. Next, broaden across your shoulder blades, drawing your shoulders away from your ears, and lift your chin and chest to gaze up toward the ceiling.
  • Cycle through Cat-Cow, a few times, keeping stress and pressure out of the head and neck.

Chin tuck

Chin tuck is a simple exercise you can do at your desk, at a stoplight, or even in a meeting at work. This simple stretch will help increase spinal awareness while strengthening the neck muscles to help pull your head back into alignment.

How to do the chin tuck

  • Sit tall in a chair and keep your chin parallel to the floor. Without tilting your head in any direction, gently draw your head and chin back, like you’re making a double chin. Be careful not to jam your head back. You should feel a stretch along the back of the neck.
  • Imagine a string pulling your head upward like a puppet and actively elongating your neck. Next, actively push the base of your skull away from the base of your neck. Keep your jaw relaxed and hold this position for three deep breaths.
  • Release your chin forward. Repeat.

Image by Rumruay | @LGNWVR on Unsplash

What does science say about text neck?

It has been debated if text neck is as problematic as it is chalked up to be. Brazilian researchers recently studied 150 young adults between 18–21 years of age. The research results showed no link between text neck and neck pain. However, the researchers observed that high usage of mobile devices and lack of exercise could cause neck and back pain.


There is no single method to ease your tech-induced pains. But then, there’s nothing wrong with doing a few stretches and exercises to keep your muscles flexible and active.

Disclaimer: Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.

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