What Are the Dangers of Tech Neck and How Can I Avoid Them?
What are the chances that you're reading this article on your phone or tablet? If you're like most people, those chances are pretty high - the average U.S. adult spends nearly three hours on their mobile device every day. (This is trackable through your phone by turning on your screen time button.) That adds up to 21 hours per week.
All that time spent in such an unnatural position - with your head down and neck forward - can harm your posture and overall health.
What is tech neck?
Tech neck refers to the altered alignment and poor posture of people who use technology, especially mobile devices, very often. Some people refer to tech neck as "text neck" because it's common in people who look at their phones for long periods of time throughout the day.
The actual definition of tech neck is similar to the "forward head" position, but with even more dire elements. People with tech neck exhibit a forward head, extended neck, tucked chin, rounded shoulders, and slumped upper back.
Why is this detrimental? Well, staying in this position for extended amounts of time - which many of us do in today's tech-heavy society - can lead to extremely limited range of motion in the neck and shoulders; pain in the neck, head, and shoulders; and muscular imbalances between the anterior (front) and posterior (back) sides of your body. For example, people with rounded shoulders often have weak chest muscles but overly tight back muscles.
How can I relieve tech neck pain?
If you're already living with tech neck and its symptoms, you have a bit of work to do before you can start the prevention part. But don't worry: With the right remedies and exercises, you'll be well on your way to correct and pain-free posture.
Chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage therapy and regenerative medicine can jumpstart your rebound from chronic tech neck. These healing practices focus on different things - joint alignment, range of motion and function, soft tissue manipulation, and tissue healing, respectively - but either way, working with a professional pain and anatomy provider, you'll notice improvement after as little as one session.
Your provider may also prescribe some exercises for you to do at home. Some examples include:
- Neck circles
- Cat-cow pose
- Downward-facing dog
- Chin tuck
- Bow pose or backbends, mobility permitting
Your pain and posture specialist will demonstrate any movements that may benefit your situation and work with you to ensure you perform all exercises with great form.
How can I prevent tech neck?
Once you've received any necessary care to realign your joints, work out tight muscle knots, and stimulate tissue healing, you'll want to keep things that way. Preventing tech neck requires an awareness of your lifestyle and habits, as well as dedication to breaking old habits and ingraining new ones.
Some changes are simple, and some may be hard. For example, an easy change is to adjust the height of your computer so that the screen is at eye level. A more difficult change is to reduce the overall amount of time you spend on your devices.
Here's a list of changes your provider might recommend:
- Change the way you hold your phone: Raise your arms up so that your phone screen is at eye level.
- Raise your computer to eye level
- Avoid aimless scrolling on devices while lying in bed or on the couch
- Take frequent breaks from your phone
- Set a timer to remind you to get up and stretch
- Focus on good posture from your core to your head while sitting and standing
- Establish a regular care plan with your Waco Integrated Medicine provider
If you think you might have tech neck, or you otherwise experience pain in your neck and shoulders, get in touch with us today. Schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractic and pain relief providers by calling.