Technology has changed the way we live. We all walk around with a computer in our pocket and the world at our fingertips. We’ve become conditioned to rely on these devices to connect us to each other, to conduct daily business, and to entertain ourselves. You might even say we’ve become addicted.
And while the advancements have brought about a lot of positive changes, there are few negatives as well. One of those downsides is tech neck — the aches and stiffness that come from bending your head down to stare at your devices for long periods of time.
At Choice Pain & Rehabilitation Center, we specialize in finding the source of your pain so we can customize the most effective treatment. We always start with the most conservative approach and incorporate multidisciplinary techniques that bring you relief safely, quickly, and effectively. If you have neck pain, and if you think you might have tech neck, we urge you to take it seriously. Come in and see us for an individualized treatment plan. Here are a few of the dangers that come along with that warning pain in your neck.
Increased pressure on your neck
On average, the human head weighs in at about 10-12 pounds, and your neck is designed to handle that much weight. But when you bend your neck at a 45-degree angle to look down at your phone or tablet, the pressure on the cervical area of your spine increases to where it’s as if your head weighed 50 pounds. And with each additional degree you bend, it’s like adding weights to your head. A 60-degree angle requires your neck to hold the equivalent of a 60-pound head.
Clearly, your sore, achy neck muscles are the consequence of your texting addiction. Repeated or long-term bending can be avoided if you make an effort to raise your screens to eye level and keep your neck in a natural, upright position.
Shortened neck muscles
Over time, your neck muscles will evolve to accommodate your most frequent position — bent. You may notice a smaller range of motion or pain when you try to hold your head in a normal position because your neck muscles have become tighter and shorter. This may also give you a hunched or rounded posture.
We may be able to relieve your pain and retrain your muscles through targeted physical therapy and other treatments.
Constantly bending forward may eventually cause a misalignment in your spine. When your spine is not properly lined up, your vertebrae can easily pinch the nerves that run throughout your spinal column. If you feel pain, numbness, or tingling in your arms or hands, this could be the reason.
We start with some stretching exercises and massage to see if that’s all it takes to return your spine to its normal position. You may need joint injections to reduce inflammation as well. We progress from there.
Muscle spasms and headaches
Tech neck is also known for causing shoulder pain due to muscle spasms or cramps. When the spasm or cramp won’t release on its own without help, it can cause chronic pain and headaches. This involuntary contraction shortens your muscles while they’re cramped, and the pain won’t go away until those muscles have relaxed through manual massage, stretching, medication, or physical therapy.
Torn or herniated discs
In some cases, the constant stress on your neck leads to excessive wear and tear on the discs in your spine, those cushy little donuts that keep your vertebrae from rubbing together. Once the discs are compromised, you have nothing to protect yourself from pinched nerves and, of course, pain. Alleviating pain is our specialty, so let us know if you’re experiencing any of these tech neck symptoms.
Tips for preventing tech neck
Tech neck is 100% preventable. Follow these tips to avoid the dangers of tech neck:
- Raise your screens to eye level
- Make sure your chair has a headrest
- Stretch and exercise daily
- Take regular breaks
- Stay hydrated
- Call Choice Pain & Rehabilitation Center
If you’ve got a pain in your neck from too much screen time, give us a call or request an appointment online. We can help you learn to use your tech without the tech neck symptoms.