Technology has reached into all aspects of life. Children and adults are using cell phones and small devices for activities ranging from reading, gaming, working, communicating, navigating, and more. This constant use of these devices has affected our posture, causing neck problems dubbed “tech neck”, a condition that occurs when too much time is spent with head and neck extended forward over the body. This can occur when using cell phones, handheld devices, and computers.
The Effects of Tech Neck
Neck Pain - If you experience neck pain and you are a device-user, your pain may be a symptom of tech neck, worsened by repeat tech use. A stiff or painful neck may send you to the chiropractor and treating with over-the-counter medications, when you could ease the pain by changing a few habits.
Shoulder Pain - Is your neck pain accompanied by shoulder pain? Another symptom of tech neck is shoulder pain caused when a person hunches over a small device or keyboard. You can ease this shoulder pain by stretching periodically during tech use.
Headaches – Tilting the head to the sides or holding the head too far forward over the shoulders can trigger headaches that seem recurring and can be misdiagnosed as other things. People who have chronic migraines should avoid bending the head forward to look at the phone. Instead, hold the phone up to eye level and take a break when a headache begins.
Actions to Avoid or Relieve Tech Neck
The best way to prevent the pain associated with tech neck is to prevent it altogether. Practicing good posture while using devices can help you avoid the pain associated with tech neck. Whether you use a device for work or for enjoyment, you don’t have to suffer from it!
Maintain good posture while holding your device. Avoid holding your head to the sides or leaning in any one direction.
- Schedule Breaks
Do not wait until pain or stiffness occurs to take a break. Schedule breaks throughout the day at work and put your phone or device down for several minutes every hours.
- Use Appropriate Office Furniture
Using a chair with a headrest can help you to keep your head straight. Consciously keep your head pressed against the headrest while sitting at your desk and using your device.
- Strength Exercises
Keep your muscles in shape by strengthening and stretching your neck, abdominals, chest, and upper back muscles on a regular basis.
- Treat Pain as a Warning
Instead of treating your pain as a secondary symptom to another problem and treating it with over the counter medications, treat it as a warning sign. When you experience sings of pain in the neck, shoulder, eyes, or hands, put the phone down.