4 Nerd Neck Exercises To Fix Your Head Posture

nerd neck exercises

Nerd neck, also known as forward head posture, as scholar’s neck, or text neck – it’s a postural deformity that is common within people who are always “glued” to their phones’ screens, computers’ screens, and constant gaming.

The good news is that “nerd neck” can be corrected using various nerd neck exercises, via modification of workstation and by correcting your posture.

In this article I am going to show you the 4 best nerd neck exercises to fix your head posture as well as some tips to avoid nerd neck in the future.

Why Is Nerd Neck Happening?

The nerd neck is happening because when the head is constantly extended forward and becomes a tad too far from the shoulders for a long time.

This way, it increases compressive loading on the cervical spine tissues, as well as the ligaments and the facet joints therein. This, can over time, cause strains on the ligaments or result in internal misalignment, unhealthy neck muscle stretch, and possible injuries. Hence pain. 

The pain you feel from this is your neck’s way of saying; “I’m lopsided more than I can bear.” If you notice this on yourself, then you should understand that two things have happened;

  • Firstly, the muscles at the back of your neck and upper back have become too tight.
  • Secondly, your front neck joint and muscles have become weak as well. 

In this case, best believe that your ideal remedy options are nerd neck exercises and precautionary measures to adhere to. 

Exercises For Nerd Neck

These are some of the effective exercises for the correction of nerd neck.

1. Chin tuck exercise

The chin tuck exercise has also proven to work for the correction of nerd neck and for pain relief around the neck region. 

nerd neck exercises
– Chin Tucks Illustration | Source: cleanspine.com
  1. To do this, you’d have to use your left hand to cup your chin, or use your fingertips to hold it, and place your right palm on the upper back part of your head, then give your neck a gentle and slow push. 
  1. With your left hand on your chin, you pull softly to the left, with the right hand on the rear head part, you gently pull to the right as well. Switch hands and repeat the process, then change the movement from “left to right” to “back to front.” This will help to train your neck muscles to stabilize at a better position.
  1. Ensure to do this gently. The aim is not to burst air bubbles; it’s to spur flexibility around the neck and reduce the stiffness of the dense ligaments. Do this once daily, 4-5 reps.

2. Neck resistance exercise

It’s important that I digress here a bit. In bodybuilding, the muscle fibers are subjected to pressure that either comes from weight or a pulling force from strings. 

Neck Resistance Exercise
– Neck Resistance Exercise

Upon resistance, the fibers are broken down, they get regenerated, and grow stronger in the direction in which the weight or pulling force subjects them to. The same thing happens in neck resistance exercise.

  1. You do this by interlocking your fingers in the space between them and placing them at the back of your head while maintaining a good posture — not allowing your head to protrude or your back to take a hunch position. 
  1. Then you simultaneously push the head forward while resisting the push. Hold on for 10-15 seconds. Stop and start again. Repeat the process for 20-25 times. The effect would be felt on the neck. This exercise rebuilds the muscle structure therein and helps to maintain neck stability. 

3. Wall angels exercise

The wall angel exercise is not solely a neck exercise. It is a posture exercise aimed at correcting the entire back posture, which by extension, positively affects the neck. It is natural for the neck to take a good shape when the other parts of the vertebral column are in place.  

A good posture means your head is not too forward above your shoulder line. However, In a case where deformity has already set in, and your neck has taken a bad extended form, the wall angel exercise corrects it by pulling the neck and the head backward, opening up the chest, and pulling the upper back and the shoulders backward as well for the attainment of an upright upper body posture. 

  1. This exercise is done by first leaning up with your back and head against the wall, your chin tucked while slightly pushing your knees forward to put your feet 6-7 cm distant from the wall, and the lower back in contact with the wall. 
  1. Attempt to put your spine in a neutral position and connect your middle back to the wall. 
  1. Reach your both arms straight up, bending from your elbow position in a 130° angle position and place them on the wall over your head. Then gently swing your hands up and down — take your elbow to your rib cage level and your hands back to your head level. Repeat this process 8-10 times. 

4. Foam roll exercise

The foam roll exercise is a helpful way to free your mid and lower back area as well as keeping your neck in shape. The exercise takes your back and spine tissues out of the bad position that they have adapted to. 

Note that the nerd neck problem results from the combination of the extension of the neck forward, and the bending of the thoracic vertebral column. So it doesn’t just take an exercise that fixes your neck, but also one that corrects your thoracic area. 

To do this exercise;

  1. First maintain a proper positioning.  Put the foam roll perpendicular to your back, lift up your hips a little bit such that your core stomach area is engaged and tight. Your hands should bed your head and your elbows should be pushed forward. 
  1. The force should come from your legs to roll back and forth continuously. Start from your mid back to your shoulders top. Roll nice and slowly.
  1. Take a rest when you get tired and uncomfortable from holding your body in that position. Ensure that no part is hurting during the exercise.

Tips To Avoid Nerd Neck in The Future

Is Forward Head Posture Correctable?

Modify Your Workstation

Modifying your workstation to suit your posture and your needs is also a bigger step to getting rid of your nerd neck problem.

Since this problem usually results from the extension of the neck during working hours, modifying your workstation where your computer is placed on a table that is specifically designed to not have your screen very distant from your chair, and at a conducive height that is perfect to your eye gaze, then you’re good as you wouldn’t need to lean forward.

Also, the use of ergonomic chairs and standing desks are great as well for nerd necks because they are pretty big on height, angle and height adjustment. The idea of modifying your workstation is for the eradication of conditions that can get you in an improper position. 

Posture awareness

Posture awareness is the constant mental consciousness of your posture and the possible positive or negative effect it can have on you.

Especially as it relates to the neck since it’s one of the most posture-sensitive areas. It only requires a conscious effort to reprogram your nervous system and to positively alter inefficient body movement. 

This means it takes a good dose of posture awareness to work towards changing bad sitting and standing postures. Whenever you’re working or standing, you might want to ask yourself; “is my head leaning toward?”, “Is my spine bent?” Doing all of these right is a big saver from developing a nerd neck. 

I’ll digress. In psychology, a habit is seen as a redundant set of unconscious thoughts, emotions and behaviors whose acquisition comes from constant repetition. This means with posture awareness, and a constant practice of how to do it right, it would become a habit and a part of you that gives no way to developing a nerd neck. 

Other tips include:

  • Do not carry a heavy backpack, in a bid to handle the weight of the load, you’ll be compelled to lean forward for stability, thereby worsening or increasing the probability of developing a nerd neck. 
  • Do not spend many hours at the front of your screen as doing so would get you tired such that you may resort to leaning your head forward unconsciously. 
  • Do not use high pillows to sleep. This can give your head an unhealthy elevated sleeping position
  • Avoid long driving hours too. Driving safely requires that you’re constantly alert. And being alert means your eyes are very much fixated to especially the front of your car. And to do this, you’re probably leaning a tad forward for a better view, especially if you’re a short person. 

How nerd neck affects the body and behavior

The effect of nerd neck on the body can lead to some other deficiencies such as;

  • Reduced general body agility
  • Limited shoulder mobility
  • Shoulder pains
  • Hands numbness
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Neck stiffness
  • Upper back muscles stiffness 
  • Front neck muscles weakness 

Some of these effects are long term while others are short term depending on the intensity, and the body type of the person experiencing them. 

How Nerd neck influences relationships

stressed couple

Low self-esteem

Of course you become unattractive with the nerd neck. Aside from facial beauty and all that has to do with a charming look, body posture also, to a great extent, contributes to a person’s attractiveness.

And when people with nerd necks perceive that they are regarded as being unattractive, it shatters their self esteem and damages their confidence. 

Poor sex life

Some of the side effects of nerd neck are headache, neck pains, and dizziness. These symptoms can tamper one’s coital performance as they may not be able to enjoy love making with these hurdles and pains.

This in turn, cause an imbalance in the sexual life of married people or people in romantic relationships, bringing dissatisfaction to spouses. 

Bottom Line

Doing these simple nerd neck exercises will help reverse your forward head posture condition as well as bring your self esteem back.

Also, it is very important to try and keep your posture (and neck) correctly in order to “force” your body to stand straight and your neck to become straight again.

If you are looking for more neck exercises, we recommend investing in a complete course such as Forward Head Posture fix – which is created by renowned physicians.

featured image source: YouTube

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