Tech Neck: Causes and How Can You Avoid It
Overuse of smart phones can damage your health in many ways. One of them is Tech Neck. According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center researchers, the increase in patients suffering from neck pain and back pain is due to a sedentary lifestyle and spending hours staring at mobile devices and laptops. In today’s world technology is practically unavoidable; so how can you get relief from tech neck?
Neurosurgeon Todd Lanman has found most patients suffering from neck pain have “reversed neck curves” based on their x-rays. However, a healthy person, not suffering from tech neck, should have backward facing neck curve. Lanman said continuous use of mobile and laptop screens are the most likely cause of neck pain and back due to the incorrect posture.
Smartphone users tend to look down while using their phones which causes a continuous forward bend in the neck which over time causes this “reverse curve” and a whole host of problems with the spine.
Tech Neck: What Is It?
Tech Neck, a newly coined phrase, is the tilting of the neck in an unnatural forward position for long periods of time like when looking at a smartphone or when hunched over a laptop or even a desktop monitor that is not positioned properly. This causes pain and stiffness in the neck, which has now been termed Tech Neck. This problem damages three spinal segments:
- Cervical Spine (Neck)
- Thoracic Spine (Back)
- Lumbar Spine (Lower Back)
Bending the neck in the wrong direction for a long periods of time exerts a huge pressure on your spine. This excess pressure can lead to health issues like:
- Joint pain and inflammation
- Muscle contractions
Why Does Tilting the Neck Forward Affect Your Health?
On average, mobile phone users spend 4-5 hours every day (if not more) looking at their screen. The more they bend their neck forward, the more they are causing damage to their spine. Generally, the head weighs roughly 10 – 11 lbs. When you have your head and neck in a regular upright position the whole body takes care of that weight; however, when you tilt it forward, the weight of the head is only supported by your neck which wasn’t made to hold it in a forward tilted position for a long time and the strain causes many problems.
All of your nerves and all of the information transmitted between your brain and your body go through the neck. Extended forward tilting of the head also affects those nerves.
If you need to look at your phone or anything on a regular basis for long periods you should reposition the device so your neck is not bent so far forward and you should take frequent breaks to reposition your neck.
Tech Neck: The Consequences
As previously mentioned, Tech Neck bends the neck and puts excess weight on the neck and spinal structure which disrupts the normal flow of information from your brain. This problem can lead to:
- Muscle pain
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Neurological issues
- Reduced lung capacity
- Respiratory dysfunction
- Early osteoarthritis due to disc compression
- Weak muscles
- Digestive issues
Can You Prevent Tech Neck Syndrome?
Experienced chiropractors who offer decompression in Lowell, MA suggest the following to help heal this syndrome:
- Support to your lumbar region and keep the back straight.
- Hold the phone at no more than a 30 degree angle and make sure that it is in level with your eyes.
- Use both thumbs to type on mobile phones.
- Support your neck and back with pillows while using mobile phones in bed.
- Instead of tilting your neck, move your eyes to read from your computer/phone.
- Take regular breaks, especially while working in a seated position.
- Always use electronic devices in a well-lit space.
Can Chiropractic Help?
Chiropractors use safe, natural methods (no drugs) to correct the problems of tech neck and help strengthen the connection between brain and body. Their use of natural spinal adjustments increase the optimal performance of your nervous system and are helpful in preventing subluxations.
Your chiropractor will gently stretch your neck back to the proper position and remove the excess pressure. He will also show you some exercises to help you help yourself heal more quickly. If you follow your DC’s advice you will feel better fast.
If you are from Lowell, MA stop by Central Street Chiropractic; your family chiropractic clinic in Lowell.