5 Ways to Conquer Tech Neck
Chances are, you’re reading this on your phone or laptop and are slouching in a less than ideal posture. (You just straightened yourself up just now, didn’t you? Good.)
Nowadays, our dependency on and overuse of technology, especially cell phones, is wreaking havoc on human posture, leading to a loss of the naturally-occurring curve in the neck, which helps support the head. This can create internal structural changes in your spine that can lead to significant problems over time.
The condition has become so common, so prevalent that it has been dubbed “Tech Neck”, and also goes by several other names:
- Text Neck
- Anterior Head Syndrome
- Forward Head Posture
- Military Neck
While in the short term it can cause muscle strain, neck pain, and headaches, among other things, over the long term it can lead to more serious health challenges such as radiculopathy (nerve pain due to compression/irritation), and even accelerated degeneration of the spine, i.e. osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease.
A few facts: the human head weighs 8-12 pounds. Every inch of forwarding head posture can increase the weight of the head on this by an additional 10 pounds. The joints and muscles of the neck, shoulders, and upper back have the job of supporting this weight, keeping it balanced and centered. When sitting in a slouched position with your head jutting forward, there’s an additional load placed on the muscles, which in turn can fatigue and transfer the weight low to the vertebrae and especially the discs, magnifying the strain which over time will lead to wear and tear and eventual degeneration.
How do I know if I have Tech Neck?
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Tension or stiffness in shoulders, upper back
- Tired vision towards the end of the day.
- Tingling or numbness in arms or hands.
What Should I Do?
Correcting your posture is something that’s under your control, so awareness and correcting it should be your first course of action when you feel tech neck affecting you. Also, here are some recommendations to minimize your risk of tech neck:
- Reduce your phone usage. (I understand this is difficult given the prevalence of digital addiction, but even a small reduction can have extremely beneficial effects.)
- Minimize sitting and slouching.
- Optimize your work station ergonomics. Keep your device at eye level more often relieves the stress is that places strain on your neck and upper back.
- Restore muscle balance: strengthen your weak muscles and stretch your tight muscles. Usually, your pecs and upper traps are right, and scapular stabilizers are weak, allowing the forward collapse of the shoulders, which will further exacerbate the Tech Neck.
- Go see your chiropractor and get X-rays to see IF you suffer from tech neck, and if so, how severe it is. Once you have identified the problem, you can establish a course of action to correct it.
Call us at 714 540 6792 for a free consultation, which is simply a conversation with our doctors to see if we can help!