By: Dr. Ryan Lee
We are more reliant on technology than ever before, which means we spend more time in front of our computers, tablets, and smartphones. But there’s one drawback to all this screen time—when you spend too much time with your head bent looking down at a screen, it can cause your neck to hurt and even lead to serious health issues like tech neck. In this post, we’ll tell you how to prevent tech neck and create better ergonomics around your devices so you can save your neck and keep enjoying your tech.
What is tech neck?
Your cervical spine (also known as your neck) is one of the most flexible parts of your body, but this also makes it more vulnerable to pain and damage. Frequently, damage can be caused by prolonged exposure to looking down and toward a computer screen, like your phone. Tech neck is a term used to describe the pain and stiffness that can come from looking down at your electronic devices for long periods of time. The human head weighs about 10 pounds, and when you tilt it forward at a 60-degree angle, it puts about 60 pounds of pressure on your neck. That’s why it’s important to take breaks from looking at your screen and to practice good posture.
Why tech neck is harmful?
If you’ve ever found yourself hunched over your phone or tablet, you may be at risk for tech neck. Some symptoms of tech neck include:
- Tension in the upper back
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems including pain or dysfunction in the jaw joints and muscles
- Tingling or numbness in the hands
- Weakness in the hands
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Abnormal Curvature of the spine
The forward bending of looking at your screen, if left unchecked, could become permanent and can even cause hunch-backed appearance, sometimes referred to as Dowager’s neck.
How to prevent tech neck
We’ve put together some good tips to help you prevent tech neck:
1. Keep your devices at eye level whenever possible. Standing desks can also help with this.
2. Take frequent breaks from looking at your screen.
3. Practice good posture by sitting up straight and keeping your shoulders back.
4. Use a headset or earbuds instead of holding your phone to your ear.
5. Take care of yourself with rest and self-care activities like meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi or gentle stretching.
6. Massage for neck pain can improve blood circulation in the problem area and increase the mobility of the vertebrae and can provide relief for your neck pain.
If you’re experiencing pain after spending extended periods of time with your electronic device in front of your face, you can make an appointment with your chiropractor to help with your alignment. Massage, combined with chiropractic care and regular exercise will help you keep your spine healthy and your neck pain free. At Reach Health and Wellness, we’re here to help keep you pain free.
Dr. Ryan Lee is the practicing chiropractic physician at Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic. For his full bio, click here. *This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Dr. Lee does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.