We all know that staring at our screens for hours on end isn't good for us, but it's hard to break the habit.
Here are some of the hard truths of life with phones in the modern world:
- Approximately 95% of kids age 14 and up have a mobile phone.
- On average, teenagers check their screen an estimated 150 times a day, that's about 1x every 10 minutes per day (24 hours) or twice every 10minutes in 12 hours!
- Elementary aged children spend 7.5 hours per day on technology.
- It’s estimated that 2.6 billion people own smartphones.
By now, most of us are aware of the negative effects that prolonged screen time can have on our health.
It's one thing to know this but we still find it difficult to unplug.
It's all too easy for us all (or at least someone we know) to spend a considerable amount of time looking at our (their) phone. Whether it's scrolling through social media feeds, watching videos, or even reading this article, looking down at your phone can cause a condition that has become known as "tech neck."
Have you ever experienced something like tech neck? The symptoms of tech neck are similar to those experienced when sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress. It's common for people who spend long periods looking down at their phones or tablets, especially if they're using them in bed while trying out apps or games.
Looking at your phone for extended periods can be tough on your neck and spine. This article will cover what you need to know about tech neck and how to avoid it.
New Name, Old Issue
Neck pain is a common issue caused by repetitive strain and injury to muscles other tissue structures of your spine.
The pain may be felt in the neck, but it can also radiate to the shoulders, arms, and hands.
The condition has been given a new name – "tech neck" – to reflect the growing number of people experiencing it due to their overuse of technology.
It's not just limited to those who stare at their screens all day long, either. Anyone who spends time looking down at their devices is at risk, no matter what they're doing on them. You could develop the symptoms of tech neck at work or even doing something repetitive over a long period of time, like looking at your newborn child.
What Causes Tech Neck?
When you hunched over your phone, tablet, or whatever you're looking at, you're putting a lot of stress on your neck. This is because the muscles and ligaments in your neck support your head in a forward position for an extended period. "Creep" is the term used where the ligaments, tendons, and muscles slowly elongate over time.
The Weight Of Your Head And Tech Neck
All-day long, your neck holds up all the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the neck and head. For the average adult, this weighs between 10-12 pounds. When leaning forward while looking down at your phone, the weight of your head, however, places 50-60 pounds of force on the neck.
That's quite the difference. Your neck becomes strained when it is holding this position for too long (over 20 minutes).
Your neck isn't designed to handle that kind of power for long periods. As a result, muscle and ligament tension and other structural abnormalities start to arise.
If nothing changes, one will experience the symptoms of tech neck.
What Are the Symptoms of Tech Neck?
Symptoms of tech neck are usually modest initially and get more severe as time passes. The following are the most commonly reported symptoms:
- Neck pain is a widespread problem that can radiate from your back or neck. The discomfort may be generalized, but it often occurs when you turn to one side and then shift positions for some reason - like swiveling in bed while sleeping at night!
- Sharp, stabbing pain that's intense
- Reduced mobility or stiffness in the neck, upper back, and shoulders
- Jaw pain
- Tingling pain and numbness in your arms and hands
Treating And Preventing Tech Neck
Depending on your symptoms, effective treatment for tech neck often requires a multipronged approach. For instance, the muscular strain associated with tech neck typically responds well to adjustments to address joint function, soft tissue treatment techniques, and exercises for strengthening the muscles all of which we do at Lake Effect Chiropractic.
What You Can Do To Take Care Of Tech Neck
An essential component of treating and preventing tech neck is correcting the poor posture that stresses and strains your neck. This can include:
- Make an intentional effort to keep your phone or screen at eye level
- Throughout the day, do some periodic stretching exercises to relieve the strain on your neck muscles
- Develop good overall posture and learn to recognize what that feels like
- Schedule an appointment with us and we can help you find the habits to prevent this pain
We Are Here To Help You
As a clinic, our goal is to develop a treatment strategy that relieves your current symptoms, allows continued enjoyment of today's screen technology, and helps prevent future problems with tech neck.
Please schedule an appointment with us today for the outstanding care that's always focused on relieving your pain and restoring your quality of life.
As you can see, tech neck is a real problem that many people are suffering from. Our constant use of technology causes it. Without a change, prolonged behavior can lead to many painful symptoms.
Thankfully, there's hope that you can reverse the trend. There are ways to treat and prevent tech neck. Our clinic offers comprehensive care for those who suffer from tech neck, so schedule an appointment today to get the treatment you need and the personalized care you deserve.